Of Mice and MenThis is a featured page

AUTHOR: John Steinbeck
SETTING: Rural California
Lennie- A large, lumbering, childlike migrant worker. Due to his mild mental disability, Lennie completely depends upon George, his friend and traveling companion, for guidance and protection.

George- A small quick-witted man who travels with, and cares for, Lennie. Although he frequently speaks of how much better his life would be without his caretaking responsibilities, George is obviously devoted to Lennie.

Candy- An aging ranch handyman, Candy lost his hand in an accident and worries about his future on the ranch.

Curley- The boss's son, Curley wears high-heeled boots to distinguish himself from the field hands. Rumored to be a champion prizefighter, he is a confrontational, mean-spirited, and aggressive young man who seeks to compensate for his small stature by picking fights with larger men. Recently married, Curley is plagued with jealous suspicions and is extremely possessive of his flirtatious young wife.

Curley's wife- The only female character in the novel, Curley's wife is never given a name and is only referred to in reference to her husband. The men on the farm refer to her as a “tramp.” Dressed in fancy, feathered red shoes, she represents the temptation of female sexuality in a male-dominated world.

Crooks- the black stable-hand, gets his name from his crooked back. Proud, bitter, and caustically funny, he is isolated from the other men because of the color of his skin.

Slim- A highly skilled mule driver and the acknowledged “prince” of the ranch, Slim is the only character who seems to be at peace with himself.

Carlson- A ranch-hand, Carlson complains bitterly about Candy's old, smelly dog.

The Boss- The stocky, well-dressed man in charge of the ranch, and Curley's father. He is never named and appears only once, but seems to be a fair-minded man.

Aunt Clara- Lennie's aunt, who cared for him until her death, does not actually appear in the novel except in the end, as a vision chastising Lennie for causing trouble for George.

Whit- A ranch-hand



Man vs. Man:
Man vs. Nature:
Man vs. Himself: George vs. Himself (contimplates what to do about Lennie)

CENTRAL TOPICS (single words / phrases):
Trust, deception, standing up for one another,

THEMES (life lessons):
This is a book about friendship and how when true friendship is there it's hard to come between that. Also another topic about this is that in a way "Love is Pain and Pain is Love".. Of Mice and Men teaches a grim lesson about the nature of human existence. Nearly all of the characters admit, at one time or another, to having a profound sense of loneliness and isolation. Each desires the comfort of a friend, but will settle for the attentive ear of a stranger. The characters are rendered helpless by their isolation, and yet, even at their weakest, they seek to destroy those who are even weaker than they. The idea that oppression does not come only from the hands of the strong or the powerful is often explored. Crooks seems at his strongest when he has nearly reduced Lennie to tears for fear that something bad has happened to George, just as Curley's wife feels most powerful when she threatens to have Crooks lynched. The novel suggests that the most visible kind of strength, that used to oppress others, is itself born of weakness.

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