Of Mice and Men

  • Created by: Elaenor.B
  • Created on: 17-05-15 10:44


As said in the beginning of the book: George relies on Lennie for companionship in the generally unfriendly and lonely environment of the migrant labourer. George not just looking after Lennie purely out of sense of pity or duty to Lennie's Aunt Clara. Bond of trust and friendship between him and Lennie tragically highlighted in closing lines of novel.

Description: Strong features, nervous, small + quick, thin + bony nose, restless, "both wore black, shapeless hats and both carried tight blanket rolls slung over their shoulders"

Relationship with other characters: George looks after Lennie = Promises him rabbits and puppies and to live on a ranch = responsible for actions taken. e.g Lennie's death. Freedom at end of book. Maybe George gets frustrated with Lennie = " 'We travel together' George said coldly" = Lennie is a burden. George and Slim get on quite well = Slim understands his postion.

Main Quotes : 

  • "Get him Lennie. Don't let him do it." Pg 91
  • "Well that was a lie. An' I'm glad it was. If I was a relative of yours I'd shoot myself" Pg 45
  • "If I was alone I could live so easy"
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As said in the beginning : Contrasting to George. Because of his metal immaturity Lennie is totally reliant of George for his survival and to gain work - George lies to get him a job = "He got kicked in the head by a horse when he was a kid". Lennie is eventually shot by George 1) to end the torture he would receive for killing C.Wife  2) so George doesn't bear the guilt and have Lennie dragging him down further.

Decription: Snorting into the water like a buffalo, shapeless of face, he walked heavily, wide sloping shoulders, flung himself down, the way a bear drags his paws, dabbled his big paw. 

Relationship to others: C.Wife takes advantage of him, he "gets on" with everyone including those outcast from society,  doesn't really inderstand what is going on, doesn't like Curley = gets in a fight with him.

Key Quotes: 

  • Lennie covered his face with his huge paws and bleated in terror. He cried, 'Make 'um stop, George.' Pg 91
  • "I done a bad thing. I done another bad thing" Pg 128
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In the beginning: Pivotal character, hasty marriage proves to be a failed attempt to escape from her own spiral of loneliness, Curley's faliure to satisfy her leads her to seek solace with other men even those on the bottom of the social hierarchy on the ranch, can't escape from the sexual image that other men have of her so cultivates this image as a means of getting noticed, to talk to someone and as a means of defence. SIGNIFICANT having NO name.

Description: Full, rouged lips. Wide-spaced eyes, heavily made up. Red fingernails.Her hair hung in little rolled clusters, like sausages. Cotton house dress + red mules. Little bouquets of red ostrich feathers. Red is significant. After death she has a similar description but half covered with hay.

About her: Dreams are significant = her dream was stopped so it comes across as her trying to prevent other peoples dreams from happening. "The rectangle of sunshine in the doorway was cut off..." = Cutting off others dreams.


  • C.Wife said angrily "Don't you think of nothing but rabbits?"
  • "Listen, ******." = Thinks that it is okay to speak to people "below" her to get her a sense of power"
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In the beginning: Only black man in the novel,  isolated in his own room away from the others, openly refered to as "******" = exemplifies the casual racism directed towards him by others = signals that black men like Crooks were constantly degraded both verbally a physically by whites, experiences the emotional bleakness of the majority of the character as shown in his jealousy of L and G's friendship and his desire to join in the dream of part-owning the ranch. 

Descriptions: Belongings = tattered dictionary and a mauled copy of the California civil code for 1905, dirty books and battered magazines, large gold-rimmed spectacles. Crooks = proud, aloof man; bent over to the left by his crooked spine; lean face was lined with deep black wrinkles; thin, pain-tightened lips.

About: Seen as bottom of ranch social hierarchy alongside C.Wife and Lennie. Reader empathises for Crooks because he is obviously clever but is dismissed by others. He get fairly annoyed when others come near him or his belonging because of the way he would be treated if it was the other way around  


  • Crooks said sharply, 'You got no right to come in my room'
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In the beginning: Only because Candy's offer to join George and Lennie in their dream to buy their own ranch that it becomes a possibility- at least in their minds. Shooting of Candy's old, rheumatic dog typifies the harshness of the relationship's environmentand setting. Foreshadows the ending of the novel. Acts as a metaphor highlighting the fast approaching end of Candy's own useful working life on the ranch.

Description: Broom in hand. Drag-footed sheep dog, gray of muzzle and with pale, blind old eyes, struggled, grunting softly. Quite uneasy, Candy is the oldest ranch,  lost his right hand in an accident at work.

Death of his dogCarlson insists on shooting the dog because he claims it is too old and ill to be of any use. Candy is devastated and wishes that he had done it himself = Candy lay still and stared at the ceiling, a shot sound in the distance, "For a moment he continued to stare at the ceiling. Then he rolled over and faced the wall and lay silent." 

Quotes:  "I ought to of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn't ought to of let no stranger shoot my dog", "When they can me here I wisht somebody'd shoot me"

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In the beginning: Not only the poor and downtrodden who live a bleak existance, despite the fact that he is privileged as the boss's son and is in a postion of relative wealth and power compared to the others , Curley too is a victim. Entered into an unsuccessful marriage and can only respond to the mistake by posturing and through outward shows of his 'maniless' in his aggressive behaviour towards those weaker than himself.

Description: He's little - so he hates big guys, there is a rumour that he wears a glove filled with Vaseline to keep his hand soft for his wife = has the mick taken out of him behind his back, looks for opportunities for a fight, thin young man with a brown face, brown eyes, head of tightly curled hair, wore high-heeled boots like the boss = symbolises significance on the ranch, being higher than others physically and on the higherarchy.

Fight with Lennie: "Curley was white and shrunken by now, and his struggling had become weak. He stood crying, his fist lost in Lennie's paw." = Brought down by somebody stronger physically but mentally weaker.

Quote: "He glanced coldly at George and then at Lennie. His arms gradually bent at the elbows and his hands closed into fists. He stiffened and went into a slight crouch. His glance was at once calculating and pugnacious."

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In the beginning: He is one of the ranch hands (top hand); he remains dertached, and to a certain extent aloof, from the other characters; he is a man whose 'ear heard more than was said to him, partly due to his position in the ranch hierarchy, but he above all is sensitive to the special nature of George and Lennie's friendship; Slim represents a sympathetic influence in the otherwise hostile nature of everyday life.

Description: We know little about him, which gives him a slightly mysterious quality; tall man, crushed Stetson hat under his arm, long, black, damp hair, blue jeans and short denim jacket; moved with a majesty only achieved by royalty and master craftsmen. Jerkline skinner, the prince of the ranch, capable of driving even twenty mules with a single line, capable of killing a fly with a bull whip without touching the mule. 


"Brighter'n a ***** outside"- Treatment of women at the time, clever woman is a '*****' because she is seen as trying to be better than men. 

'There was a gravity in his matter and a quiet so profound that all talk stopped when he spoke. His authority was so great that his word was taken on any subject, be it politics or love.'

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MAIN THEME 1: Dreams

Lennie: 'The American Dream' = purely materialistic, believed he could get to here with very little money, didn't really understand, his dream is about the less important things in life such as money, he doesn't understand the importants of family and friends and the different social expectations because he is an 'outcast'.

C.Wife: Dreamt of being an actress = 'my ol' lady wouldn' let me'. 'so I married Curley.' Tries to destroy others' dreams because she never got want she wanted. Failed marriage and not the centre of attention.

Crooks: The reader could gather that Crooks just wants to be treated as a normal person rather than be treated like dirt. His copy of the California Civil Code emphasises this and his jealously towards others implies the desire to be be considered normal. 

George: Gets caught up in fantasy, thoughts are clouded by Lennie's idea of an amazing future which would seem impossible to someone else in their circumstance. It is no longer what he wants but what Lennie desires. When he shoots Lennie, that cloud disappears and he is left to look at his reality without him. The reder does not know whta his future holds but understands that the never ending struggle is no longer there and he can go on to dreaming about what he wants. 

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  • Impossible 
  • Amerian dream
  • Rabbits 
  • Inevitable ending of dreams 
  • C.Wife's jealousy of others
  • Hope of a better life
  • Dreams are crushed literally
  • Sun - metaphor - beginning and end
  • Out of reach
  • Crooks - knows dream wont come true
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MEN AND WOMEN: 1930s America

MEN: Strong, muscular, show no emotion, patrotic, want to work for country, provide for family, masculine, 'own' a beautiful wife, wealth, health, man of the house, unfaithful, controlling 

WOMEN: Weak, glamourous, looks after family, obedient, baby maker, sacrafice, feminine, powerless, uneducated, verbally abused, bottom of social hierarchy. 


Black people were seperated from the Whites because of their skin colour. Crooks is a prime example of this segregation. They weren't allowed near the possesion of those who are white and were given basic shelter and food and were mistreated. 

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