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Of Mice and Men

John Steinbeck

Key Facts

Important Quotations Explained

Study Questions & Essay Topics

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

More Help

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Point Of View

by x0ellison0x, November 02, 2012

Although most sites will say that the point of view for Of Mice and Men is third-person omniscient, it is really third-person limited. This is when the story is told from the point of view of a third-person limited narrator, who knows only the thoughts and feelings of a single character, while other characters are presented only externally.


84 out of 173 people found this helpful

Of mice and men

by macbride14, November 28, 2012

Of mice and men is a fantastic book and film, it really shows how hard it was to live back then. George and lennie are your typical migrant workers but lennie has a mental disability, which means george has got to walk him thorugh every day life. They both have this wonderful dream where they own there own ranch amd that lennie gets to tend the rabbits.


65 out of 150 people found this helpful

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


55 out of 73 people found this helpful

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