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Plot Summary and Analysis of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

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The novel takes place in the 1930s in a ranch beside Salinas River in Soledad in California. Two friends: George, a farm worker, and Lennie a tall simple-minded man. They are always searching about new job because Lennie gets them in trouble. He took by accident a woman by her dress because he likes soft things but does not control his strength. At their new job in a ranch, they meet old Candy and his dog, as well as Curley, the boss’s son, Slim another coworker who gives a puppy to Lennie and Crooks who has to sleep in the barn because of his skin color. Curley’s wife very pretty, is bored and visits the workers. One day, Lennie find himself alone with Curley’s wife and wants to caress her hair because he likes soft things like the coat of mice…. Curley’s wife women become nervous and Lennie in a panic, breaks her neck. At the beginning of the story, Lennie received specific instructions from George if anything bad happened he had to hide near the River. George finds Lennie there and ended up killing him to prevent him from licking.

Theme Statements

Low Intelligence

In most cases, low intelligence people are rejected and put aside by society. Because of his handicap, people at the ranch do not interact with Lennie. His coworkers are scared and wary of him, especially if they know his physical strength and inability to control himself. For example, when Crooks is just joking and telling him that George could decide to abandon him one day, Lennie gets furious. Crooks stop joking, being afraid of what Lennie could do to him. In addition, when curly hits him, Lennie believes he was laughing at him, Lennie does not riposte and his face becoming bloodied until George tells him that he should riposte. Consequently, due to the way Lennie was excluded and mistreated because of his mental health problems, he is inevitably putting in a situation in where he killed Curlie’s wife. He is not responsible for his actions, the fear of being punished once more is what led him to murder and in the end being killed by his only friend. If Lennie had been treated better and taken care in a more responsible manner, the events leading up to his death would certainly be different.

True Friends

Friendship is a mutual affection, attachment between two people. There are 3 factors that prove George and Lennie are true friends. Firstly, George attachment to Lennie is unveiled when he tells Slim, “We kinda look after each other…. It’s a lot nicer to go around with a guy you know.” a kid,” George adds. After Aunt Clara died, he decided to take care of Lennie, this shows his loyalty. On the other hand, Lennie’s also wants to make a sacrifice to George, but I cannot because of his disability. For example, after George reprimands him, he offers to go away and live himself in a cave, but George still feels obligated by the promise he made to Lennie’s aunt.

Secondly, George can turn his back and run away because Lennie always gets him into trouble. For example, he touched a girl’s dress that made the girl thinking he was going to rape her. He accidently kills animals and fights, but they still stay together until Lennie’s death. Their friendship overcame all obstacles. Finally, the evidence of their friendship is confirmed when they plan to establish a future together which is own a farm with lot of rabbits.


Symbolism is a fact of using a symbol to represent or explain complex concepts. There is 3 major example of symbolism representative of the animal in Mice and men: Mice, Candy’s dog, and the rabbits. Firstly, mice are important for Lennie because it’s a symbol of comfort. Lennie’s likes soft things and always hopes to keep them with him as shown by the dead mouse he carried in his pocket. Mice are a source of comfort and pleasure in an unstable world. The second symbol used by Steinbeck is Candy’s dog who is no longer useful and must die. It is taken in the night and killed because men in the ranch want it killed. Candy’s dog symbolizes the cruel and brutal world in which human being lives. Candy worries once he is no longer useful, like his dog he will no longer have a place in the ranch. Finally, the rabbits represent Lennie’s hope and dreams for the future. Therefore, the rabbits appear to him as a hallucination at the end of the novel as despair to come.


Irony is to affirm the opposite of what we want to mean. There are three important examples in Steinbeck’s novel. The first one is when Steinbeck’s gives the name of Lennie Small to the biggest men in the novel. Lennie is constantly described in an image of an animal “…and he walked heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws.”. Lennie is like “hulk” in the fictional superhero. The most glaring example is when he cannot control himself and crushes Curly’s hand. The second and serious ironic is when Lennie’s accidentally kills Curley’s wife. Georges loves his friend, and he does not want Lennie to die horribly. Lennie naively thinks like a kid that he and George are finally going to get the land where he can take care of his rabbits. Instead, George must kill him. The last irony is: when crooks tells Lennie that he does not want the big man coming in his room but, he is awfully alone and likes to have company. Therefore, he tells Lennie “Long as you won’t get out and leave me alone, you might as well set down.”

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Plot Summary And Analysis Of Mice And Men By John Steinbeck. (2020, May 19). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 20, 2021, from
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