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Key Facts

Key Facts

full title  ·  Of Mice and Men

author  · John Steinbeck

type of work  · Novella

genre  · Fiction; tragedy

language · English

time and place written  · Mid-1930s; Pacific Grove and Los Gatos ranch, California

date of first publication  ·  1937

publisher  · Covici, Friede, Inc.

narrator  · Third-person omniscient

climax  · Lennie accidentally kills Curley’s wife in the barn

protagonists  · George and Lennie

antagonists  · Curley; society; the cruel, predatory nature of human life

setting (time)  ·  1930s

setting (place)  · South of Soledad, California

point of view  · The story is told from the point of view of a third-person omniscient narrator, who can access the point of view of any character as required by the narrative.

falling action  · Lennie runs away from the barn; the men return and find Curley’s wife dead; Curley leads a mob of men to search for and kill Lennie; George finds Lennie in the clearing and, while retelling the story of life on their farm, shoots him in the back of the head.

tense  · Past

foreshadowing  · Lennie petting the dead mouse, Lennie being run out of Weed for the incident involving the girl in the red dress, and Lennie killing his puppy—all of which anticipate Lennie accidentally killing Curley’s wife; the death of Candy’s dog, which anticipates the death of Lennie; Candy’s regret that he didn’t kill his old dog himself, which anticipates George’s decision to shoot Lennie

tone · Sentimental, tragic, doomed, fatalistic, rustic, moralistic, comic

themes  · The predatory nature of human existence; the importance of fraternity and idealized relationships between men; the impossibility of the American Dream; the destructive imbalance of social power structures in American society

motifs  · The corrupting power of female sexuality; strength and weakness; loneliness and companionship

symbols  · The clearing in the woods; Lennie and George’s farm; mice; Candy’s dog; the heron that plucks water snakes from the stream; Curley’s boots; Lennie’s puppy

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A good read, but sad

by Alfred_F_Jones, February 02, 2013

We read the novel for my 9th grade English class, and I'm supposed to be writing and essay about it right now, but oh well. It was an amazing book, though many of my classmates disliked it. The characters were impressive and I really liked old Candy. It was good for historical reference and offered a look at the depression.

The shot book got me attached to the characters, and I almost cried at the end, but I was in class.

Overall I'd give it an 9 out of 10


93 out of 134 people found this helpful

Of Mice and Men Plot Summary

by giannamarie11, February 05, 2013

Of Mice and Men is a fantastic novel that shows how hard it was in the times of the Great Depression. The difference between Lennie and George compared to the migrant workers is that they had each other. In the novel, it shows how George takes care of Lennie who has a mental disability. Most of the migrant workers wanted to achieve the success of the American Dream that was different for every American. Lennie and George too wanted to the euphoria of achieving their American Dream. Lennie and George’s dream was to own a ranch and live off ... Read more


239 out of 291 people found this helpful

Minor Characters?

by DanyStormborn, August 22, 2013

I read the book and really enjoyed it, but now I have to write the essay. I have to write about a minor character that is very important to the story, the only problem is, I can't see to figure out which characters would be considered 'minor.' I was thinking about using Slim, but please let me know if you can think of a better suggestion! Thanks


4 out of 16 people found this helpful

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Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men (SparkNotes Literature Guide Series)