Printing History
First published in the United States of America by Covici, Friede, Inc. 1937
Published by The Viking Press Inc. 1938
First published in Penguin Books 1978
Reissued in Penguin Books 1986
Copyright John Steinbeck, 1937
Copyright renewed John Steinbeck, 1965

Main Characters
1George Milton small, quick, dark of face and eyes, restless
Lennie Small huge, shapeless, pale eyes, slow moving
2Candy old swamper, missing one hand
Whitey previous bunkhouse occupant, overly clean
The Boss owner of a ranch below Soledad
Crooks negro stable buck, had a back injury
Smitty fought with Crooks at earlier Christmas party
Curley Boss' son, short, once a welterweight boxer
Slim jerkline skinner, local authority
Carlson (Carl) a ranchhand
Curley's wife a tart, tease
3Whit a young laborer at the ranch
Bill Tenner former pea cultivator operator at the ranch
Susy owns a house in town; two-fifty a go
Clara owns another house; three bucks
5Al Wilts deputy sheriff in Soledad
6Aunt Clara Lennie's dead aunt, from his Auburn childhood

places mentioned in
Of Mice and Men

the ranch in Of Mice and Men
source: Jackson J. Benson's biography of Steinbeck, p 39

Book Blurb — Penguin 1986
Two [Of Mice and Men and Cannery Row] evocative, beautifully rendered portraits of "outsiders" struggling to understand their own unique places in the world.
Clinging to each other in their loneliness and alienation, George and his simple-minded friend Lennie dream, as drifters will, of a place to call their own. But after they come to work on a ranch in the Salinas Valley their hopes, like "the best laid schemes o' mice an' men," begin to go awry.

"A thriller, a gripping tale ... that you will not set down until it is finished. Steinbeck has touched the quick."

The New York Times

Chapter Summary
Steinbeck's chapters are unnumbered; shown here are page numbers to the penguin edition
Hot Thursday late afternoon. George and Lennie spend the night by the Salinas River, a few miles south of Soledad. They plan to start work the next day and dream of a future farm where Lennie can tend rabbits.
Friday morning at the bunkhouse. George and Lennie sign up to buck barley. Curley tries to pick a fight with Lennie. Candy tells George Curley's wife is a tart. George reminds Lennie where to hide if there's trouble. They meet Curley's wife, Slim and Carlson. Lennie wants one of Slim's dog Lulu's pups.
Friday evening. George tells Slim Lennie grabbed a red-dressed girl in Weed. Lennie gets a pup. Carlson shoots Candy's old dog with his Luger. Slim goes to the barn to treat a horse. While the rest go to see if Slim's with Curley or Curley's wife, Candy commits his $350 to George and Lennie's $600 dream. When everyone returns, Curley beats on Lennie until George tells Lennie to "get him." Lennie crushes Curley's hand. Slim orders Curley to say it was a machine accident.
Saturday night at Crook's room in the barn. All but Candy and Lennie go to town. Lennie drops in on Crooks who philosophizes about companionship. Candy drops by and talks of their dreams. Curley's wife shows up and insults them all. Candy brags of their ranch. She infers that Lennie is the machine which got Curley. She threatens Crooks with a lynching. George arrives and all leave Crooks' room.
Sunday afternoon. While the rest play horseshoes, Lenny kills his puppy in the barn. Curley's wife shows up. Lennie explains his fondness for soft things, and she encourages him to stroke her hair. When she wants him to stop he breaks her neck out of fear. Candy finds her and brings George. When the men find out Curley goes for his shotgun. Carlson goes for his Luger, but it's missing and he assumes Lennie took it. Whit is sent to Soledad for Al Wilt. Candy stays with the body while all go after Lennie.
Late afternoon. Lennie comes to the river. His dead Aunt Clara appears and scolds him. A huge imaginary rabbit tells him George will leave him. George shows up and reassures Lennie. While they talk of their dream, George puts the Luger to the base of Lennie's skull and fires. When they see Lennie everyone assumes George took the gun from him and shot him. Slim says "You hadda, George," and takes him for a drink.

Notes and Links
bindle stiff Slang. a migrant worker or hobo who carries his own bedroll [bindle is an alteration of bundle] - American Heritage Dictionary

The Robert Burns poem To a Mouse

Wee, sleeket, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,...

... But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
    Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain
    For promis'd joy.

Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But, och! I backward cast my e'e
    On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
    I guess an' fear!

Amazon Books: Of Mice and Men

Byron Preiss Multimedia CD-ROM Of Mice and Men and Mice and Men Web Links

Movie:Of Mice and Men (1939)
- Burgess Meredith (George), Lon Chaney, Jr. (Lennie)

TV Movie:Of Mice and Men (1981)
- Robert Blake (George), Randy Quaid (Lennie)

Movie:Of Mice and Men (1992)
- Gary Sinise (George), John Malkovich (Lennie)

The writing of Of Mice and Men

Stephan Steinbeck