Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck Setting: South of San Francisco in the Salinas Valley of California; probably during the depression of the 1930’s; three locations-along the banks of the Salinas River near the ranch, in the ranch bank house, and in the barn. Background info: George Milton has cared for his mentally slow friend. Lennie Small, Since the death of Lennie’s Aunt Clara. They travel together to work a various amount of jobs so that one day they will have enough money to live on their own and be their own bosses.
Every time they have a job, Lennie gets into some trouble which forces them to run away. This time, they are running from a town called Weed to a ranch where they could work as ranch hands. Major Characters: George Milton: The small, sharp-ranch hand who travels with Lennie, George is a typical, realistic hand who uses his mind to approach future obstacles. Lennie Small: A physically large man whose mind is slow; he has a short attention span and acts like a child. Lennie never could understand the consequences of his actions, travels with and is cared for by George. Slim: A wise, well-respected ranch hand whose word is law; master craftsman who knows things without being told.
Carlson: Ranch hand who is the exact opposite of Slim; coarse and insensitive, Carlson does not understand the feelings of those around him. Candy: The ranch hand who wanted to join the dream of George and Lennie, Candy’s one faithful companion was his dog; awaits the bleakness of the future of all the other ranch hands. Crooks: Names for his crooked body; proud and independent Negro who also is an outcast on the ranch; bitter against racial discrimination against him, but Lennie and crooks accepted each other as time goes on; also wants to join Lennie and George’s dream. Curley: The evil son of the boss, Curley is small, vicious bully who picks on those smaller than he is and attempts to intimidate those larger than he is. Curley’s Wife: The bitter wife of Curley attempts to seduce the ranch hands; she has a mean streak and is a vehicle for spreading evil.
In “Of Mice and Men”, Steinbeck shows every character’s desire for some kind of achievement in life as an example of the American dream and how unattainable it really is for them. The American Dream is one of liberty, untarnished happiness and self-reliance. At the beginning of the novel George and Lennie immediately bond together building a close friendship that teaches them ...
Themes: The American Dream: George and Lennie dream to be able to own a place of their own and be their own bosses. Loneliness: Candy’s only companion, his dog, is killed. Friendship: George shooting Lennie to help him escape from a brutal lynching. Innocence: Lennie’s not understanding why he shouldn’t enter Crook’s room.
Discrimination: Crooks, as a ranch outcast, lives in a room all alone. Morals: – People need others to talk to, to survive (Crooks statement about needing someone or going crazy, the attachment of crooks and candy to the dream of Lennie and George share, Curley’s wife seduction of the ranch hands as a buffer against loneliness. ) – A man’s ability to dream is directly attached to having someone to share the dream with. (George lets go of the dream after Lennie is killed. ) – Sometimes, even though it’s not what you want, you have to do what’s best for you and those you love (George shoots his best friend, Lennie so that Lennie and escape a brutal lynching.