Of Mice and Men

ISBN: 1565117700
ISBN 13: 9781565117709
By: John Steinbeck Gary Sinise

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About this book

Of Mice and Men was John Steinbeck's first masterpiece. Originally published in 1937, it's the timeless story of George Milton and Lennie Small, ranch hands who drift from job to job, always one step ahead of the law and a few dollars from the poorhouse. George is small, wiry, sharp-tongued and quick-tempered; slow witted Lennie is his opposite—an immense man, brutishly strong but naturally docile, a giant with the mind of a child. Despite their difference, George and Lennie are bound together by a shared vision: their own small farm, where they'll raise cows, pigs, chickens, and rabbits, where they'll be their own bosses and live off the fat of the land.When they find work on a ranch in California's Salinas Valley, the dream at last seems within reach. If they can just save up a little money. . . . But their hopes, like "the best-laid schemes of mice and men," begin to go awry. The story unfolds with the power and inevitability of a Greek tragedy, as Lennie commits an accidental murder, and George, in a riveting, deeply moving finale, must do what he can to make things turn our right.

Reader's Thoughts

Fewlas

Steinbeck ha questa immensa capacità di inquadrare con precisione poetica i destini umani che ti lascia ogni volta in uno stato di completa ammirazione.Come in “Vicolo Cannery”, anche in “Uomini e topi” la vicenda viene incastonata in un paesaggio reso ottimamente da pennellate di vividi colori, e viene scandita dal sorgere e dal calare del sole. La parabola discendente di Lennie e George si misura dall’altezza dei riflessi del sole sulle pareti delle stalle e sulle montagne, quasi fosse un ciclo vitale. E, in effetti, lo è. In molti accostano questa novella ai morality plays inglesi di epoca medievale: ogni personaggio dovrebbe incarnare un vizio oppure una virtù, mettendo poi in scena delle vicende che solitamente portavano al trionfo del bene. In un certo senso è vero, visto anche che Steinbeck inizialmente aveva pensato a “Uomini e topi” come ad un dramma da intitolare ”Something that happened”; un dramma che doveva solo mostrare (non giudicare o commentare) e che doveva girare il paese per mettere in scena l’americanissima perdita dell’innocenza, la cruda discesa agli inferi di quella gente povera il cui unico vero possedimento era un sogno nel cassetto. Fu Ricketts, l’amico biologo di Steinbeck che ispirò la figura del Dottore in “Vicolo Cannery”, a suggerire a Steinbeck questo tipo di scrittura di intento cronachistico. Fu Steinbeck con il suo talento a renderla una perla di rara bellezza. La sua voce narrante non irrompe mai direttamente nella vicenda ma, nel riportarci gli avvenimenti, non si limita ad una cruda e distaccata cronaca: ne è un perfetto esempio l’espediente narrativo dell’anticipazione, affidato tante volte in questo romanzo allo stridere delle catene dei cavalli nella stalla, al loro quasi imbizzarrirsi in prossimità degli eventi che andranno a sconvolgere l’azione. Espediente che tanto ricorda lo shakespereano chiamare in causa la natura ed il suo sconvolgimento nei momenti in cui si cambiano i destini umani.La parabola di Steinbeck non finisce bene come facevano i morality plays ma, indubbiamente, è molto più efficace. Perché in quel piccolo pezzetto di mondo egli riesce non solo a raccontare la storia di una manciata di uomini, ma ad inserirci anche la sorte di ogni umano destino.

Claire S

A fascinating thing about this which I hadn't been aware of from my previous exposure to it is that is was one of Steinbecks's format/genre experiments. In this work, Steinbeck created a new genre: the play/novelette. '"The work I am doing now," he wrote to his agents in April 1936, "is neither a novel nor a play but it is a kind of playable novel. Written in novel form but so scened and set that it can be played as it stands. It wouldn't be like other plays since it does not follow the formal acts but uses the chapters for curtains. Descriptions can be used for stage directions... Plays are hard to read so this will make both a novel and play as it stands."Anticipating postmodernists, Steinbeck was to declare wtih greater and greater frequency in the late 1930s and '40s that the novel was dead, whereas theater was "waking up," was fresh and challenging.'And in fact, he sent it to his publishers in late summer of 1936; it was published on February 25, 1937 (for $2 per copy); was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection in March; was performed as written by Theater Union of San Francisco with an opening on May 21, 1937; then performed as a modified version at Music Box Theater in New York opening November 23, 1937; and released as a film in 1939. It was very controversial, banned in Australia in 1940; one of the most frequently banned books by school board over the years.'"The first few pages so nauseated me," wrote the reviewer for 'The Catholic World,' "That I couldn't bear to keep it in my room over night."' "Morbid and degenerate" content was why another showing of it was condemned.And the reason for all the hoo-ha? The truth of it. The hopelessness and loneliness of the group of people Steinbeck gives life to - the landless white male agricultural workers of the 1930's. Also, he used actual dialect which was still new back then. Included in the dialect is racist language in use back then, as his characters would not have been honest without it. Probably some bannings were due simply to the use of the 'n' word, although most programs that use it now include context for that which is a response to it that contains the intended respect while also containing discussion that can be so useful to unlearning racism. Another interesting content item about race is a momentary scene in which a white woman brings to the attention of a black man her ability to get him lynched. It's brutal, and then it's over and the action continues and it fades into unimportance - all of which serves as a reminder of our shared history festering with racism; and how far we as a country have come. (i'm adding that scene to quotes for this book).It's a very quick read for all that, and very enjoyable actually just for the intensity of description. This felt to me like one of those quick-action films, only the super-short scenes are ones you create in your own mind, as written by Steinbeck. Somehow he packs in vivid visual content and well-drawn characters in an almost poetically pithy writing style. Highly recommend.

Thomas

"Of Mice and Men" is about two ranch hands traveling together in the Dust Bowl age trying to find work. George is the planner, and is always thinking about the future and how to look out for Lennie although he doesn't always show it. Lennie is limited because of his mental retardation, but nonetheless although strong is pretty much harmless. Together these two travel together and well... it's a short story, so not much I can say without spoiling it. =)I liked this book. I'm writing this review BEFORE my class has analyzed the book and what not, so maybe that's why I enjoyed it a little more than others that had to read it for school. The storytelling was nice, quick and simple with vivid imagery to help move the few boring parts along. The best part of this book was definetly the theme hands down, it was a bit depressing at the end but I got a kick out of the message so... it was pretty good for a book I had to read for school.

Nathan

"A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody. It don't make no difference who the guy is, long as he's with ya'. I tell ya', a guy gets too lonely, and he gets sick." I first read Of Mice and Men at an age when I was learning to read. Not phonetically, but critically. This novel taught me what good literature could be, and it is one of a handful of novels that I measure all other novels by. As a result, I have turned into someone who can read five to ten nonfiction books in a month but read only one or two fiction books in any given year. This is what good literature should be. The essence of the story - loneliness and man's desperate need for friendship - is a story that never ages, never tires, and only seems trite to those too self-centered to ever realize how lonely they really are. Yes, it is sad and almost dooming in places. But it is also touching, true and timeless. The quote at the start of this review is as potent now as it was then; and its sentiment is timeless enough that it even showed up in 2006 on TV's Lost, word-for-word, as part of banter between two essential characters. "Don't you read?" Ben asked Sawyer. Even on an Island in the middle of nowhere, with others out to kidnap you and magic monsters made of trees and nightmares trying to kill you, reading Of Mice and Men is still important in a functional society.NC

Shannon

i hated this book.steinbeck is crap.children should not be forced to read it.ok, i really just don't like steinbeck's aesthetic. i dislike the killing of innocent animals, the dehumanization of the mentally retarded--and don't try to tell me that lenny isn't marginalized here. the book is depressing and directionless, and not in the ironic waiting-for-godot sort of way. the descriptions are flat, emotionless, and dessicated.however, curly's wife is awesome. she's just so bizarre and pathetic, so out of place. i love her.

midnightfaerie

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck was not an enjoyable read. I read this again because it was short and I couldn’t remember all of it from when I read it in high school. It was just as terrible as I remember. It’s about a man and his retarded brother who travel around looking for work. They constantly get in trouble and have to leave because the retarded man is socially inept. The retarded man, Lennie is the most pathetically sad creature someone could invent. And all the dying that took place, especially the dog and the puppy, made me sad. It was almost a relief when the ending happened. I won’t tell you because I don’t want to spoil it in case you decide to read it. At least it was quick. Maybe people like that are better off dead. That might sound horrible, but how often was Lennie happy? He was mostly in a constant state of anguish and anxiety. Never knowing if he did something wrong or when he would next. Don’t judge me until you read the book, then we’ll talk. The point of the book I guess was the relationship between the two men, and how men need each other. Is this Classic material? I don’t think so. Was it a good book? I didn’t enjoy reading it. I read only to get to the end. ClassicsDefined.com

Lou

Oustanding short heart warming storySome facts about the book, author and the movies..Of Mice and Men was adapted for the screen three times, the first in 1939, two years after the publication of the novel. This adaptation of Of Mice and Men stars Lon Chaney Jr. as Lennie, Burgess Meredith as George, and was directed by Lewis Milestone.It was nominated for four Oscars.[16]In 1981 it was made into a TV movie, starring Randy Quaid as Lennie, and Robert Blake as George, and was directed by Reza Badiyi.Another theatrical film version was made in 1992, directed by Gary Sinise, who was nominated for the Palme d'Or at Cannes. Sinise also played George in the film, and the role of Lennie was played by John Malkovich. For this adaptation, both men reprised their roles from the 1980 Steppenwolf Theatre Company production.John Steinbeck loved the movie and said that Henry Fonda as Tom Joad made him "believe my own words".Prior to filming, producer Darryl F. Zanuck sent undercover investigators out to the migrant camps to see if John Steinbeck had been exaggerating about the squalor and unfair treatment meted out there. He was horrified to discover that, if anything, Steinbeck had actually downplayed what went on in the camps.The novel's original ending was far too controversial to be even considered for a film in 1940. It involved Rose-of-Sharon Rivers (Dorris Bowdon) giving birth to a stillborn baby and then offering her milk-filled breasts to a starving man, dying in a barn.Darryl F. Zanuck paid $100,000 for the rights to John Steinbeck's novel - a staggering amount of money at the time. Steinbeck only allowed the rights to be sold under the proviso that the filmmakers should show the material due reverence and treat the project responsibly.Some images.. The Author Steinbeck

Bonnie

Ok, first of all, you're probably wondering how I made it through 12 years of good ol' American public school and 4+ years of college without reading this book. Let me explain...no there is too much, let me sum up. I signed up for AP English my senior year of high school. After a few classes I realized that my current case of senioritis would really not allow for such extensive reading and reporting as the AP curriculum required. So, I did the responsible thing, and promptly transferred out of AP and into regular English (also known as remedial English). Once there I sat back, relaxed and studied the good-looking soccer player 2 rows ahead and passed notes to my friend Jenny. We read a grand total of one (that's right, ONE...as in 1, uno, a single) book the entire year; To Kill a Mockingbird. It took a good semester to read the thing and then another one to watch the movie, of course. So, there you have it. Now I have to make up for lost time in order to feign intelligence within my various social circles. A fabulously simple tale about friendship and brotherhood but also misunderstanding, jealousy and hatred. A classic, of course.

Alexia

Blatant symbolism makes the reader able to discern exactly what is going to happen and what means what from the get-go. There is no surprise or character development, just the descent into the inevitable.

Larry Bassett

There are a lot of movies available online for free. There are two movie versions of Of Mice and Men online: one released in 1939 and another in 1992. I have just recently fallen into watching movie adaptations of books I am reading or listening to. I like it. So here I have an audio book and a pair of movies. The 1939 movie (with Burgess Meredith and Lon Chaney Jr.) was intriguing to me since the book was first published in 1937. The book is having its 75th anniversary this year. The movie made most contemporaneously with the publication of the book easily captures the time period since it was actually made during that period. It effortlessly displays the 1930s of the book. If you are a fan of vintage films and classic books, you will enjoy the combination.Gary Sinise is the excellent narrator of the audio book. Gary Sinise directed the 1992 movie version of Of Mice and Men and played the role of George. This is another book that has online SparkNotes at http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/micemen/ if you find these helps useful.George and Lennie have a plan, a dream, and it keeps them going in an otherwise routine life. Their dream is so appealing that others want to join them in that dream. It gives the men something to live for. Lennie loves to have George tell the story of the place they will have with a house and alfalfa and rabbits and “live off the fat of the land.” Men grasping for a better future. Of Mice and Men is a simple story of rootless men moving from farm job to farm job near Salinas, California. Steinbeck excels with his descriptions of people and places: the countryside, the bunkhouse, the odd collection of men and Curley’s wife. Crooks, the lone black man on the ranch, talks with Lennie about how men need each other and they always have dreams that are never realized. Lots of lonely people in this story.Hearing the story of the gentle giant and his life with George brought a shiver of recollection. His world came crashing in on him as he watched his dream seem to be coming true just as it does with every reading of this book that is woven into the American psyche. Lennie and George have each other but that evidently is not enough. “Tell how it’s gonna be,” said Lennie to George. And I am not sure if the lump in my throat is from the conclusion of the story or from the nostalgia of my past.Five stars for the audio version done so well.

Ellie

Of Mice and Men is truly beautiful piece of literature that seems so simple, yet so incredibly complex. Set during the American Great Depression in the 1930's, it is the story of two friends, George and Lennie, who wander from town to town looking for work to earn money to buy their own land. The one snag in this plan is Lennie, a strong giant of a man with the mind of a young child who, although full of good intentions, finds himself getting into trouble at every stop. Lennie is unable to think for himself and relies completely on the guidance of George to get him through everyday life. The ending is so swift yet so incredibly moving, that I cried while reading the last few pages. (view spoiler)[My heart broke for George at the end of the novel. I really felt sorry for him – he lost everything, his friend and his hope and his dream for the future. And Lennie, it was sad that he died but at least it was someone who cared about him and someone who was trying to help him who killed him. It would have been much worse if Curley or Carlson had killed him because they wouldn't have let him die so happy without him knowing what was going to happen to him. (hide spoiler)]This will be one book that I will always remember reading. Five stars! ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

Shayantani Das

“Trouble with mice is you always kill 'em. ” Breathtaking prose, touching characters and a heart breaking ending. Who said only lengthy novel can make an impact?

Jeniffer Almonte

"Of Mice and Men" is so widely read since it's required at most schools. But I hope that doesn't mean we take it for granted. On this re-reading one of the elements I gained was the character of Crooks, the clever black stable hand languishing with loneliness. I also saw Curley's wife in a different light-- one that understood how her loneliness guided her relationship with the men. And there's Candy, lonely for his smelly old dog, wanting to be part of George and Lennie's piece of paradise, wanting to go to the circus or a baseball game if he ever did feel like it.At that time that I read this when I was 11, I guess none of them made much of an impression. I saw only Lennie and the innocence of his dreams. And I thought that was the point. On this second reading, I realized that almost everyone had innocent dreams and maybe THAT was the point. Because George too, has innocent dreams, even though he should know better (having manufactured those dreams for Lennie's sake). Lennie is the way that he is because of his mental disability. But really, he's the way that he is because he is human. The desire for companionship, the innocent optimism, the potential for destruction, those things are human. They are just all bigger in him than usual. This is such a powerful little book, with dialogue that truly sings. A masterpiece. And an absolute treat to re-read!

Kirstine

“A guy needs somebody―to be near him. A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody. Don't make no difference who the guy is, long's he's with you. I tell ya, I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an' he gets sick.”Are you a mouse or man?At first glance that saying is very straight forward. Of course you want to be a man, because that means you can take action, you can face consequences, you can stand up for yourself, for others, for what is right. You are not weak-willed or weak-minded; you are strong.But men are also assholes. I’m now talking about mankind, not the gender ‘man’ (don’t get your panties in a twist). We’re all fucking useless parasites latched on to this planet for dear life, claiming earth we have no actual right to own, using up every bit of precious resource we’re offered. Some of us are those resources being used, with nothing to show for it. Some of us have to walk that road alone. What is a mouse? A tiny creature that allegedly scares women. It’s a cute mammal, a fluffy herbivore. It doesn't kill, it’s not in its nature, yet it has survived until now and it fights for that survival every day. Now the question is a bit more difficult. What would you rather be? Mouse or man? What does it take to be either?In this particular saying, the most significant difference between mouse and man (other than a conscious mind) is strength. Strength in all its variations and complexities. Why do we value it so much? Is it worth anything if you don’t know what to do with it?Lennie has physical strength, but a weak (innocent) mind, while his companion has a weaker physique, but a stronger mind. They’re each other’s companions so as not to get lonely, but also, I believe, because they complement each other. It’s obvious that Steinbeck valued strength of the mind higher than anything physical, and that an excess of strength (in any way) with no restraint will end badly for anyone. However, a simple mind is not a bad thing either, it doesn’t make you a bad person, it simply means you will have a harder time getting by on your own. George could get by fine without Lennie (as he sometimes states himself, perhaps even better) but Lennie would be lost without George. And the act of taking care of someone and having someone rely on you, someone who needs you, it makes you a kinder human being. Perhaps it makes sense the title’s in plural. It's a tragic, but humbling read, that in a mere 100 pages lays bare many of the trials of humanity. There are so many things I adore about this book, so many things I keep discovering and falling in love with. It breaks your heart, it really does, but it is also very affirming. No matter who you are, or where on the scale of mice and men you fall, never forget to be kind.

Kristen

I have hated Steinbeck since the tender age of 15 when I was forced to choke down Grapes of Wrath. I was then forced to sit through the movie version of Grapes of Wrath, and was re-assigned to book to read by a crazy teacher I had at the age of 17. I liked it no better on the second go round, however at least by then I was able to pick out the "Christ Figure" that my teachers had always babbled about.Because of this terrible set of experiences I had sworn off of Steinbeck for the rest of my life. If you see a copy of Grapes of Wrath on fire, you know that I'm probably near by. So when I started reading the list "1001 books to read before you die" I was glad that I could already check off Grapes of Wrath and not touch it again - but to my dismay, there were other books by Steinbeck on the list. I admit I panicked... there was no WAY I was going to torture myself like that again. Every word of that last attempt had been a struggle.Then I noticed that one of the books was "Of Mice and Men." I had seen the play several times and the movie, and to be honest - they weren't that bad. So during a carride to ATL under questionable circumstances, I read this 107 page book from beginning to end. Now I'm sure there was a Christ figure in there somewhere, and I know that there was a lot of "deep meaning" and "symbolism enough to choke a badger" but I happily ignored all of it. I am excited to say that I read through the book - found it didn't change me, my thought process, or my lifestyle, and was able to move on. Short Summary - George and his retarded pal Lenny are day workers who travel from farm to farm trying to earn a living. Lenny is huge, with the mind of a child, and George is small and quick witted. George keeps Lenny entertained with stories about how one day they will of their own land and work it themselves. George has told the story enough that even he's starting to believe it. Things go bad at their current job when a trampy woman hits on Lenny. That's about it.Lots of themes, racism, tragedy, the way men treat one another, the lifestyle of the migrant worker in the 30's, the treatment of the mentally handicapped, etc. In the end, Steinbeck does a better job of not bashing the reader over the skull with his themes, and he managed to contain his desire to describe every grain of sand. I figure most people can make it through 107 pages of Steinbeck.

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