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Encyclopedia > Of Mice and Men
Of Mice and Men
Author John Steinbeck
Cover artist Ross MacDonald
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Novella
Publisher Spangler
Publication date 1937
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 107
ISBN ISBN 0-14-017739-6

Of Mice and Men is a novella by Nobel Prize winning author John Steinbeck, first published in 1937, which tells the tragic story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced Anglo migrant ranch workers in California during the Great Depression. Of Mice and Men book cover (The ISBN 0140177396 version). ... For other members of the family, see Steinbeck (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Country (disambiguation). ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... A novella is a narrative work of prose fiction somewhat longer than a short story but shorter than a novel. ... A publisher is a person or entity which engages in the act of publishing. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... See also: 1936 in literature, other events of 1937, 1938 in literature, list of years in literature. ... Hardcover books A hardcover (or hardback or hardbound) is a book bound with rigid protective covers (typically of cardboard covered with cloth, heavy paper, or sometimes leather). ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... ISBN redirects here. ... A novella is a narrative work of prose fiction somewhat longer than a short story but shorter than a novel. ... Nobel Prize in Literature medal. ... For other members of the family, see Steinbeck (disambiguation). ... See also: 1936 in literature, other events of 1937, 1938 in literature, list of years in literature. ... Look up anglo in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... For other uses, see The Great Depression (disambiguation). ...


Based on Steinbeck's own experience as a bindle stiff in the 1920s (before the arrival of the Okies he would vividly describe in The Grapes of Wrath), the title is taken from Robert Burns's famous poem, To a Mouse, which is often quoted as: "The best-laid plans of mice and men go oft awry." Though it remains required reading in many American, Australian, British, New Zealand and Canadian high schools, Of Mice and Men has been the frequent target of censors for what some consider "offensive" and "vulgar" language, and appears on the American Library Association's list of the Most Challenged Books of 21st Century. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Rear view of an Okies car, passing through Amarillo, Texas, heading west, 1941 Okie, also known as a Pafundi in Northern Oklahoma, is a synonym, dating from as early as 1905, denoting a resident or native of Oklahoma. ... This article is about the novel. ... For the chain gang fugitive and author from Georgia, see Robert Elliott Burns. ... To A Mouse is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1785, and was included in the Kilmarnock volume. ... ALA Logo The American Library Association (ALA) is a group based in the United States that promotes libraries and library education internationally. ...

Contents

Plot summary

Two migrant workers in California during the Great Depression – George Milton, small in stature, intelligent, and cynical, but caring, and Lennie Small, a physically strong, but mentally limited man – come to a ranch in Soledad, California to "work up a stake". They are fleeing from their previous employment in Weed.[1] There, the childlike Lennie was run out of town, with George accompanying him, because Lennie's love of stroking soft things resulted in an accusation of attempted rape when he touched a young woman's dress. Once they are out of town and into safety, they hope one day to carry on with fulfilling their shared dream of settling down on their own piece of land. Lennie's part of the dream, which he never tires of hearing George describe, is merely to have soft rabbits on the farm, which he can pet. George tries to keep Lennie out of trouble by telling him that if he gets into trouble he won't let him "tend them rabbits". For other uses, see The Great Depression (disambiguation). ... Soledad is a city in Monterey County, California, United States. ...


At the ranch, the dream appears to become possible. Candy, the aged, one-handed ranch-hand, offers to put in his few hundred dollars with Lennie and George so that they can buy the farm by the end of the month. Then, the dream crashes down when Lennie accidentally kills the young and attractive wife of Curley, the ranch owner's son, while trying to stroke her hair. A lynch mob led by Curley quickly gathers. George, now realizing he is doomed to a life of loneliness and despair like the rest of the migrant workers, and wanting to spare Lennie a painful death at the hands of the vengeful and violent Curley, shoots Lennie in the back of the head before the mob can find him. The shot comes while Lennie is distracted by one last retelling of the dream.


Characters in Of Mice and Men

  • George Milton – The protagonist: a quick-witted man who is named friends with Lennie. He looks after Lennie and dreams of a better life. He struggles to take care of Lennie, and his stories of a different life illustrate a longing to escape the atomized and segregated communities of working people, which were common to the Depression.[citation needed]
  • Lennie Small – A developmentally disabled man who travels with George. There is irony and description in his last name: he is a very big man physically, but with the small dreams and attributes of a child. He dreams of "living off the fatta' the lan'" and being able to tend to rabbits, his obsession being soft bunnies, materials and cuddly animals. His possession of the mental ability of a child but the strength of a "bull", results in him being unable to control or judge even his own strength. This results in a series of accidental killings when they try to escape him (e.g. mice, his puppy, and eventually Curley's wife).[citation needed]
  • Candy – A ranch worker who has lost a hand in an accident and is near the end of his useful life on the ranch. He knows he has little to look forward to, especially when another hand, Carlson, decides to kill Candy's dog because it annoys everyone in the bunk house with its bad smell and old age. Candy's powerlessness is illustrated by his inability even to influence his dog's euthanasia; the matter is ultimately decided by Slim. However, he is given renewed strength and self-respect by the prospect of settling down with Lennie and George, willing to make the largest contribution toward the dream.[citation needed]
  • Candy's dog – Candy's dog has a parallel with his owner. They are both old and regarded as useless and redundant on a busy ranch. The dog is finally shot by Carlson, and Candy is sorry for not killing it himself. The question of the fate of the dog foreshadows the ending, as Candy, who cared for the dog, didn't kill it, but thought he should have, while George, who cares for Lennie, kills Lennie out of the same sense of responsibility.[citation needed]
  • Curley – The boss's son – a young, pugnacious character, once a semi-professional boxer. He is incredibly jealous and protective of his wife. He immediately takes a disliking to Lennie, as he is insecure of his small stature compared to Lennie's.[citation needed]
  • Curley's wife – A young, pretty woman, sometimes called a "tart" by the men and mistrusted by her husband. The other characters refer to her only as "Curley's wife", and she is one of the only characters in the novella without a name. She had dreams of becoming an actress, and is often mean-spirited and bullying towards the ranch hands. Her inappropriate dress and flirtatious manner are meant to attract attention because she is lonely. She has her neck broken accidentally by Lennie while talking to him.[citation needed]
  • Slim – A "jerk line skinner" (the main driver of a mule team) and the moral yardstick at the ranch, referred to as "prince of the ranch". Slim decides on the mercy-killing of Candy's dog and later tells George he had no choice in the mercy-killing of Lennie. Before this, it is Slim who helps Lennie avoid getting fired after Lennie's fight with Curley.[citation needed]
  • Crooks The only African American hand on the ranch, referred to as a "nigger" by almost all. Like Candy he is crippled; his nickname refers to a crooked back resulting from being kicked by a horse. He sleeps segregated from the other workers, but is fiercely protective of his "rights", though he has no real rights. While he is lonely, he does not want others to know of his true feelings. When Lennie visits his room, he immediately takes the opportunity to scare him into submission, though this only results in him angering Lennie.[citation needed]
  • Carlson – Another ranch hand who is unable to empathize with anyone. He wants to shoot Candy's old and infirm dog because he doesn't like its smell. He finally does so with the same pistol which was later used by George to shoot Lennie. He has the final and supremely ironic line of the book, wondering (as Slim buys George a consoling drink after the horrific killing of Lennie): "What the hell ya' suppose is eatin' them two guys?"[citation needed]
  • Whit – A young, inexperienced man; enthusiastic about life on the ranch, but missing a friend also from a previous ranch, and mourning the relationship.[citation needed]
  • The Boss – Curley's father; owner and director of the ranch.

Image File history File links Emblem-important. ... Developmental disability is a term used to describe severe, life-long disabilities attributable to mental and/or physical impairments, manifested before the age of 22. ... // Nigger is a racial slur used to refer to dark-skinned people, especially those of African ancestry. ...

Style

Of Mice and Men was Steinbeck's first attempt at writing in the form of novel-play, termed a "play-novelette" by one critic. Structured in three acts of two chapters each, it is intended to be both a novella and a script for a play. He wanted to write a novel that could be played from its lines, or a play that could be read like a novel.[2] Steinbeck considered this work a failure in the sense that it did not accomplish this.[citation needed]


Steinbeck originally titled it Something That Happened, however, he changed the title after reading Robert Burns's poem, To a Mouse.[2] Burns's poem tells of the regret the narrator feels for having destroyed the home of a mouse while plowing his field; it suggests that no plan is fool-proof and no one can be completely prepared for the future.[citation needed] For the chain gang fugitive and author from Georgia, see Robert Elliott Burns. ... To A Mouse is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1785, and was included in the Kilmarnock volume. ...


Steinbeck wrote this book, along with The Grapes of Wrath, in what is now Monte Sereno, California. Steinbeck's dog ate an early manuscript of the novel.[3] This article is about the novel. ... Monte Sereno is a city in Santa Clara County, California, USA. The population was 3,483 at the 2000 census. ...


Adaptations

Movie poster for 1939 film version of Of Mice and Men.
Movie poster for 1939 film version of Of Mice and Men.

Image File history File links Mice_men_movieposter. ... Image File history File links Mice_men_movieposter. ...

Cinema

Of Mice and Men was cinematized several times, the first in 1939, only two years after the initial publication of the novel. This adaptation of Of Mice and Men starred Lon Chaney Jr. as Lennie, Burgess Meredith as George, and was directed by Lewis Milestone.[4] It was nominated for four Oscars.[4] In 1981 it was made into a TV movie. This version starred Randy Quaid as Lennie, Robert Blake as George, Ted Neeley as Curley, and was directed by Reza Badiyi.[5] The year 1939 in film involved some significant events. ... Of Mice and Men is a 1939 film based on the novel by John Steinbeck with the same title. ... Lon Chaney, Jr. ... Oliver Burgess Meredith (November 16, 1908[1] – September 9, 1997), known as Burgess Meredith, was a versatile American actor. ... Lewis Milestone (born Lev Milstein) (September 30, 1895 - September 25, 1980) was an accomplished, and award-winning motion picture director. ... Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are the most prominent and most watched film awards ceremony in the world. ... // January 19 - Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer acquires beleaguered concurrent United Artists. ... “Telefilm” redirects here. ... Randall Rudy Randy Quaid (born October 1, 1950) is an Academy Award-nominated American actor and comedian. ... Robert Blake on the cover of the Baretta Season 1 DVD set. ... Ted Neeley at The Peace Center in Greenville, SC on May 13, 2007 after a show. ... Reza Badiyi was born in Tehran, Iran on April 17th 1930. ...


The most recent film version of Of Mice and Men (1992) was directed by Gary Sinise, who was nominated for the Palme d'Or at Cannes.[6] In addition to directing, Sinise also played the role of George opposite John Malkovich. For this adaptation, both men reprised their roles from a 1980 Steppenwolf Theatre Company production.[7] Of Mice and Men is a 1992 movie starring John Malkovich and Gary Sinise (who also directed). ... The year 1992 in film involved many significant films. ... Gary Alan Sinise (born March 17, 1955) is an Emmy and Golden Globe winning, Golden Palm and Academy Award nominated American actor and film director. ... Palme dOr The Palme dOr (Golden Palm) is the highest prize given to a film at the Cannes Film Festival. ... Cannes - receding storm Cannes, as seen from a ferry speeding towards lÎle Saint-Honorat Cannes (pronounced ) (Provençal Occitan: Canas in classical norm or Cano in Mistralian norm) is a city and commune in southern France, located on the Riviera, in the Alpes-Maritimes département and the r... John Gavin Malkovich (born December 9, 1953) is an Academy Award-nominated American actor, producer and director. ... Steppenwolf Theatre Company is a Tony Award-winning Chicago theatre company founded in 1974 by Gary Sinise, Terry Kinney and Jeff Perry in the basement of a church in Highland Park, Illinois. ...


Theater

Stage adaptations have also been produced. The first production was by Sam H. Harris, and opened on November 23, 1937, in the Music Box Theatre on Broadway.[8] Running for 207 performances, it starred Wallace Ford as George and Broderick Crawford as Lennie.[8] The role of Crooks was performed by Leigh Whipper, the first African-American member of the Actors' Equity Association.[9] Whipper repeated his role in the 1939 film version.[4] It was chosen as Best Play in 1938 by the New York Drama Critics' Circle.[10] In 1939 the production was moved to Los Angeles, still with Wallace Ford in the role of George, but now with Lon Chaney, Jr., taking on the role of Lenny. Chaney's performance in the role would result in his casting in the movie. is the 327th day of the year (328th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Music Box Theatre, showing Deuce, May 2007 Music Box Theatre (entrance) Music Box Theatre (interior view) The Music Box Theater is a legitimate Broadway theatre located at 239 West 45th Street in midtown-Manhattan. ... For other uses of Broadway, see Broadway. ... Ford as Det. ... Crawford in Black Angel William Broderick Crawford (born December 9, 1911; died April 26, 1986) was an American actor. ... The Actors Equity Association (commonly simply Equity) is the trade union of American theatrical performers and stage managers. ... The New York Drama Critics Circle is comprised of nineteen drama critics from daily newspapers, magazines, and wire services based in the New York City metropolitan area. ...


The play was revived in a 1974 Broadway production in the Brooks Atkinson Theatre staring Kevin Conway as George and James Earl Jones as Lennie.[11] Noted stage actress Pamela Blair played Curley's Wife in this production. The Brooks Atkinson Theater is a Broadway theatre. ... Kevin Conway (born May 29, 1942 in New York City) is an American actor and film director. ... James Earl Jones (born January 17, 1931) is an American Academy Award-nominated, Emmy- and Tony Award-winning actor of film and stage well known for his deep basso voice. ... Pamela Blair (born December 5, 1949) known as Pam, is an American actress, singer, and dancer best known for originating the role of Val in the musical A Chorus Line and several appearances on American Soap Operas. ...


In 1970 Carlisle Floyd wrote an opera based on this novel. One departure between Steinbeck's book and Floyd's opera is that the opera features The Ballad Singer, a character not found in the book.[citation needed] Carlisle Floyd (born 1926 in Latta, South Carolina) is an American opera composer. ... For other uses, see Opera (disambiguation). ...


Reception

Attaining the greatest positive response of any of his works up to that time, Steinbeck's novella was chosen as a Book of the Month Club selection before it was published. Praise for the work came from many notable critics, including Maxine Garrad (Enquirer-Sun), Christopher Morley, and Harry Thornton Moore (New Republic). New York Times critic Ralph Thompson described the novel as a "grand little book, for all its ultimate melodrama."[12][13] The Book of the Month Club (founded 1923) is a United States mail-order business where consumers are offered a new book each month. ...


The novella has been banned from various American public and school libraries or curricula for allegedly "promoting euthanasia", being "anti-business", containing profanity, racial slurs, and generally containing "vulgar" and "offensive language".[14] Many of the bans and restrictions have been lifted and it remains required reading in many other American, Australian, British, New Zealand and Canadian high schools, perhaps in part to bring awareness to these societal errors in which Steinbeck aims to bring into light.[citation needed] As a result of being a frequent target of censors, Of Mice and Men appears on the American Library Association's list of the Most Challenged Books of 21st Century (number 4).[15] For mercy killings not performed on humans, see Animal euthanasia. ... ALA Logo The American Library Association (ALA) is a group based in the United States that promotes libraries and library education internationally. ...


Characters similar to George and Lennie have been popular since the publication of Of Mice and Men. Theatrical cartoon shorts of the 1940s and 1950s, particularly the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons released by Warner Bros., are particularly awash with Of Mice and Men parodies. The Of Mice and Men reference most often in the form of one character asking another, a la, Lennie, "which way did he go, George; which way did he go?" Tex Avery, who worked as a director on Warner-released cartoons during the 1930s and early 1940s, started the trend with Of Fox and Hounds (1940). The formula was so successful that it was used again and again in subsequent shorts, notably Robert McKimson's Cat-Tails for Two (1953) and Chuck Jones' The Abominable Snow Rabbit (1961). Avery used it again when he went on to direct several cartoons starring the George and Lennie dopplegangers George and Junior for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in the late 1940s. What's more, Avery himself provided the voice of "Junior." The parody also appears in Mystery Science Theatre 3000 when a stereotypical 'dumb' person asks, 'Tell me about the rabbits, George'. Looney Tunes opening title Looney Tunes is a Warner Brothers animated cartoon series which ran in many movie theatres from 1930 to 1969. ... Merrie Melodies end title Merrie Melodies is the name of a series of animated cartoons distributed by Warner Bros. ... “WB” redirects here. ... Frederick Bean Fred/Tex Avery (February 26, 1908 – August 26, 1980) was an American animator, cartoonist, and director, famous for producing animated cartoons during The Golden Age of Hollywood animation. ... Of Fox and Hounds is a 8-minute 1940 Tex Avery film which introduced Willoughby the Dog. ... Robert Bob McKimson, Sr. ... Cat-Tails for Two is a 1953 Warner Bros. ... Chuck Jones in 1976 Charles Martin Chuck Jones (September 21, 1912 – February 22, 2002) was an American animator, cartoon artist, screenwriter, producer, and director of animated films, most memorably of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts for the Warner Bros. ... “The Abominable Snow Rabbit”, a Warner Bros. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... For alternate meanings of MGM, see MGM (disambiguation). ... From left to right, Crow T. Robot, Joel Robinson, and Tom Servo. ...


For more references in other works, see Of Mice and Men in popular culture This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


References and notes

  1. ^ Of Mice and Men Factsheet. English Resources (2002). Retrieved on 2007-10-08.
  2. ^ a b Dr. Susan Shillinglaw (2004-1-18). John Steinbeck, American Writer. The Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies. Retrieved on 2006-12-28.
  3. ^ Robert McCrum (2004-1-18). First drafts. Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved on 2006-12-27.
  4. ^ a b c Of Mice and Men (1939). Internet Movie Database Inc. (1990-2007). Retrieved on 2007-10-08.
  5. ^ Of Mice and Men (1981). Internet Movie Database Inc. (1990-2007). Retrieved on 2007-10-08.
  6. ^ Of Mice and Men (1992). Internet Movie Database Inc. (1990-2007). Retrieved on 2007-10-08.
  7. ^ Of Mice and Men (1992). Rotten Tomatoes / IGN Entertainment, Inc. (1998-2007). Retrieved on 2007-10-08.
  8. ^ a b Internet Broadway Database: Of Mice and Men. The League of American Theatres and Producers (2001-2007). Retrieved on 2007-10-08.
  9. ^ Internet Broadway Database: Leigh Whipper (2001-2007). Retrieved on 2007-10-08.
  10. ^ National Steinbeck Center: About John Steinbeck : Facts, Awards, & Honors. National Steinbeck Center. Retrieved on 2007-10-08.
  11. ^ Internet Broadway Database: Of Mice and Men (1974). The League of American Theatres and Producers (2001-2007). Retrieved on 2007-10-08.
  12. ^ McElrath, Joseph R.; Jesse S. Crisler, Susan Shillinglaw (1996). John Steinbeck: The Contemporary Reviews. Cambridge University Press, 71-94. Retrieved on 2007-10-08. 
  13. ^ (2000-2007) CliffNotes: Of Mice and Men : About the Author. Wiley Publishing, Inc., 71-94. Retrieved on 2007-10-08. 
  14. ^ Banned and/or Challenged Books from the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century. American Library Association (2007). Retrieved on 2007-10-08.
  15. ^ American Library Association list of the Most Challenged Books of 21st Century. American Library Association (2007). Retrieved on 2007-10-08.

Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 281st day of the year (282nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 362nd day of the year (363rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Guardian Unlimited is a British website owned by the Guardian Media Group. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... December 27 is the 361st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (362nd in leap years). ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 281st day of the year (282nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 281st day of the year (282nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 281st day of the year (282nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 281st day of the year (282nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 281st day of the year (282nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 281st day of the year (282nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 281st day of the year (282nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 281st day of the year (282nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 281st day of the year (282nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 281st day of the year (282nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 281st day of the year (282nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 281st day of the year (282nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links

  • Photos of the first edition of Of Mice and Men

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