Of Mice and Men pdf, Summary, Characters, Quotes, Movie, Cast, Text

Of Mice and Men pdf is a novella written by John Steinbeck. Published in 1937, it narrates the experiences of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers, who move from place to place in California in search of new job opportunities during the Great Depression in the United States. Steinbeck based the novella on his own experiences working alongside migrant farm workers as a teenager in the 1910s (before the arrival of the Okies that he would describe in The Grapes of Wrath). The title is taken from Robert Burns’ poem “To a Mouse”, which reads: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley”. (The best laid schemes of mice and men / Often go awry.) While it is a book taught in many schools, Of Mice and Men has been a frequent target of censors for vulgarity, and what some consider offensive and racist language; consequently, it appears on the American Library Association’s list of the Most Challenged Books of the 21st Century. In this article, you will be able to download Of mice and men pdf as well as do the following:

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Of mice and men Summary by John Steinbeck

Over seventy-five years since its first publication, Steinbeck’s tale of commitment, loneliness, hope, and loss remains one of America’s most widely read and taught novels. An unlikely pair, George and Lennie, two migrant workers in California during the Great Depression, grasp for their American Dream. They hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence. For George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations, nor predict the consequences of Lennie’s unswerving obedience to the things George taught him.

Of Mice and Men represents an experiment in form, which Steinbeck described as “a kind of playable novel, written in a novel form but so scened and set that it can be played as it stands.” A rarity in American letters, it achieved remarkable success as a novel, a Broadway play, and three acclaimed films. This edition features an introduction by Susan Shillinglaw, one of today’s leading Steinbeck scholars.

About the author Of mice and men – John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck, born in Salinas, California, in 1902, grew up in a fertile agricultural valley, about twenty-five miles from the Pacific Coast. Both the valley and the coast would serve as settings for some of his best fiction. In 1919 he went to Stanford University, where he intermittently enrolled in literature and writing courses until he left in 1925 without taking a degree. During the next five years he supported himself as a laborer and journalist in New York City, all the time working on his first novel, Cup of Gold (1929).

After marriage and a move to Pacific Grove, he published two California books, The Pastures of Heaven (1932) and To a God Unknown (1933), and worked on short stories later collected in The Long Valley (1938). Popular success and financial security came only with Tortilla Flat (1935), stories about Monterey’s paisanos. A ceaseless experimenter throughout his career, Steinbeck changed courses regularly. Three powerful novels of the late 1930s focused on the California laboring class: In Dubious Battle (1936), Of Mice and Men (1937), and the book considered by many his finest, The Grapes of Wrath (1939). The Grapes of Wrath won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in 1939.

Early in the 1940s, Steinbeck became a filmmaker with The Forgotten Village (1941) and a serious student of marine biology with Sea of Cortez (1941). He devoted his services to the war, writing Bombs Away (1942) and the controversial play-novelette The Moon is Down (1942).Cannery Row (1945), The Wayward Bus (1948), another experimental drama, Burning Bright(1950), and The Log from the Sea of Cortez (1951) preceded publication of the monumental East of Eden (1952), an ambitious saga of the Salinas Valley and his own family’s history.

The last decades of his life were spent in New York City and Sag Harbor with his third wife, with whom he traveled widely. Later books include Sweet Thursday (1954), The Short Reign of Pippin IV: A Fabrication (1957), Once There Was a War (1958), The Winter of Our Discontent (1961),Travels with Charley in Search of America (1962), America and Americans (1966), and the posthumously published Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters (1969), Viva Zapata!(1975), The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976), and Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath (1989). Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962, and, in 1964, he was presented with the United States Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Steinbeck died in New York in 1968. Today, more than thirty years after his death, he remains one of America’s greatest writers and cultural figures. 

Information about the book (Bookdepository)

Of mice and men by John Steinbeck
Of mice and men by John Steinbeck
  • Format Paperback | 128 pages
  • Dimensions 111 x 181 x 9mm | 92g
  • Publication date 01 Mar 2007
  • Publisher Penguin Books Ltd
  • Imprint Penguin Classics
  • Publication City/Country London, United Kingdom
  • Language English
  • ISBN13 9780141023571
  • Bestsellers rank 5,636

Excerpt from Of mice and men by John Steinbeck

A few miles south of Soledad, the Salinas River drops in close to the hillside bank and runs deep and green. The water is warm too, for it has slipped twinkling over the yellow sands in the sunlight before reaching the narrow pool. On one side of the river the golden foothill slopes curve up to the strong and rocky Gabilan mountains, but on the valley side the water is lined with trees—willows fresh and green with every spring, carrying in their lower leaf junctures the debris of the winter’s flooding; and sycamores with mottled, white, recumbent limbs and branches that arch over the pool. On the sandy bank under the trees the leaves lie deep and so crisp that a lizard makes a great skittering if he runs among them. Rabbits come out of the brush to sit on the sand in the evening, and the damp flats are covered with the night tracks of ‘coons, and with the spread pads of dogs from the ranches, and with the split-wedge tracks of deer that come to drink in the dark. There is a path through the willows and among the sycamores, a path beaten hard by boys coming down from the ranches to swim in the deep pool, and beaten hard by tramps who come wearily down from the highway in the evening to jungle-up near water. In front of the low horizontal limb of a giant sycamore there is an ash pile made by many fires; the limb is worn smooth by men who have sat on it. Evening of a hot day started the little wind to moving among the leaves. The shade climbed up the hills toward the top.

On the sand banks the rabbits sat as quietly as little gray, sculptured stones. And then from the direction of the state highway came the sound of footsteps on crisp sycamore leaves. The rabbits hurried noiselessly for cover. A stilted heron labored up into the air and pounded down river. For a moment the place was lifeless, and then two men emerged from the path and came into the opening by the green pool. They had walked in single file down the path, and even in the open one stayed behind the other. Both were dressed in denim trousers and in denim coats with brass buttons. Both wore black, shapeless hats and both carried tight blanket rolls slung over their shoulders. The first man was small and quick, dark of face, with restless eyes and sharp, strong features. Every part of him was defined: small, strong hands, slender arms, a thin and bony nose. Behind him walked his opposite, a huge man, shapeless of face, with large, pale eyes, with wide, sloping shoulders; and he walked heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws. His arms did not swing at his sides, but hung loosely.

The first man stopped short in the clearing, and the follower nearly ran over him. He took off his hat and wiped the sweat-band with his forefinger and snapped the moisture off. His huge companion dropped his blankets and flung himself down and drank from the surface of the green pool; drank with long gulps, snorting into the water like a horse. The small man stepped nervously beside him. “Lennie!” he said sharply. “Lennie, for God’ sakes don’t drink so much.” Lennie continued to snort into the pool. The small man leaned over and shook him by the shoulder. “Lennie. You gonna be sick like you was last night.” Lennie dipped his whole head under, hat and all, and then he sat up on the bank and his hat dripped down on his blue coat and ran down his back. “Tha’s good,” he said. “You drink some, George. You take a good big drink.” He smiled happily.

George unslung his bindle and dropped it gently on the bank. “I ain’t sure it’s good water,” he said. “Looks kinda scummy.” Lennie dabbled his big paw in the water and wiggled his fingers so the water arose in little splashes; rings widened across the pool to the other side and came back again. Lennie watched them go.

“Look, George. Look what I done.” George knelt beside the pool and drank from his hand with quick scoops. “Tastes all right,” he admitted. “Don’t really seem to be running, though. You never oughta drink water when it ain’t running, Lennie,” he said hopelessly. “You’d drink out of a gutter if you was thirsty.” He threw a scoop of water into his face and rubbed it about with his hand, under his chin and around the back of his neck. Then he replaced his hat, pushed himself back from the river, drew up his knees, and embraced them. Lennie, who had been watching, imitated George exactly. He pushed himself back, drew up his knees, embraced them, looked over to George to see whether he had it just right. He pulled his hat down a little more over his eyes, the way George’s hat was.

George stared morosely at the water. The rims of his eyes were red with sun glare. He said angrily, “We could just as well of rode clear to the ranch if that bastard bus driver knew what he was talkin’ about. ‘Jes’ a little stretch down the highway,’ he says. ‘Jes’ a little stretch.’ God damn near four miles, that’s what it was! Didn’t wanta stop at the ranch gate, that’s what. Too God damn lazy to pull up. Wonder he isn’t too damn good to stop in Soledad  at all. Kicks us out and says, ‘Jes’ a little stretch down the road.’ I bet it was more than four miles. Damn hot day.” Lennie looked timidly over to him. “George?” “Yeah, what ya want?” “Where we goin’, George?” The little man jerked down the brim of his hat and scowled over at Lennie. “So you forgot that awready, did you? I gotta tell you again, do I? Jesus Christ, you’re a crazy bastard!” “I forgot,” Lennie said softly. “I tried not to forget. Honest to God I did, George.” “O.K.—O.K. I’ll tell ya again. I ain’t got nothing to do. Might jus’ as well spen’ all my time tellin’ you things and then you forget ’em, and I tell you again.” “Tried and tried,” said Lennie, “but it didn’t do no good. I remember about the rabbits, George.” “The hell with the rabbits. That’s all you ever can remember is them rabbits. O.K.! Now you listen and this time you got to remember so we don’t get in no trouble.

Major characters in Of mice and men pdf by John Steinbeck


A large, lumbering, childlike migrant worker. Due to his intellectual disability, Lennie completely depends upon George, his friend and traveling companion, for guidance and protection. The two men share a vision of a farm that they will own together, a vision that Lennie believes in wholeheartedly. Gentle and kind, Lennie nevertheless does not understand his own strength. His love of petting soft things, such as small animals, dresses, and people’s hair, leads to disaster.


A small, wiry, 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. George’s behavior is motivated by the desire to protect Lennie and, eventually, deliver them both to the farm of their dreams. Though George is the source of the often-told story of life on their future farm, it is Lennie’s childlike faith that enables George to actually believe his account of their future.


An aging ranch handyman, Candy lost his hand in an accident and worries about his future on the ranch. Fearing that his age is making him useless, he seizes on George’s description of the farm he and Lennie will have, offering his life’s savings if he can join George and Lennie in owning the land. The fate of Candy’s ancient dog, which Carlson shoots in the back of the head in an alleged act of mercy, foreshadows the manner of Lennie’s death.

Curley’s wife

The only female character in the story, Curley’s wife is never given a name and is only mentioned in reference to her husband. The men on the farm refer to her as a “tramp,” a “tart,” and a “looloo.” Dressed in fancy, feathered red shoes, she represents the temptation of female sexuality in a male-dominated world. Steinbeck depicts Curley’s wife not as a villain, but rather as a victim. Like the ranch-hands, she is desperately lonely and has broken dreams of a better life.


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. Despite himself, Crooks becomes fond of Lennie, and though he derisively claims to have seen countless men following empty dreams of buying their own land, he asks Lennie if he can go with them and hoe in the garden.


Curley, the boss’s son, 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.


A ranch-hand, Carlson complains bitterly about Candy’s old, smelly dog. He convinces Candy to put the dog out of its misery. When Candy finally agrees, Carlson promises to execute the task without causing the animal any suffering. Later, George uses Carlson’s gun to shoot Lennie.

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. Candy happily reports that the boss once delivered a gallon of whiskey to the ranch-hands on Christmas Day.

Aunt Clara

Lennie’s aunt, who cared for him until her death, does not actually appear in the work except at the end, as a vision chastising Lennie for causing trouble for George. By all accounts, she was a kind, patient woman who took good care of Lennie and gave him plenty of mice to pet.

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Editorial reviews about the book

”Of Mice and Men is a thriller, a gripping tale running to novelette length that you will not set down until it is finished. It is more than that; but it is that. . . . In sure, raucous, vulgar Americanism, Steinbeck has touched the quick in his little story.” —The New York Times

“Brutality and tenderness mingle in these strangely moving pages. . . . The reader is fascinated by a certainty of approaching doom.”—Chicago Tribune

”A short tale of much power and beauty. Mr. Steinbeck has contributed a small masterpiece to the modern tough-tender school of American fiction.”—Times Literary Supplement [London] 

Customer reviews on Barnesandnoble for Of mice and men by John Steinbeck

New York, NY
4 out of 5 stars.
3 months ago  
Quick Read

I semi read this book back in High School, but decided to read it again and gave it my full attention. It’s a classic indeed. This book touched based on a lot of issues that were underlying while some were plastered on your face to obviously see.The grand point is how they cover racism with Crooks, one of the workers who is black. I liked how Crooks had a voice and was able to speak up on the topic.

In my opinion, I believe this book touches on Gaslighting, Domestic Abuse, (maybe autism? I don’t want to put the exact finger on it because on how Lennie was, but I believe he was around the spectrum), and probably a mental illness for Lennie. I have a theory on that, but that’ll spoil the book.

Scottsdale, AZ
5 out of 5 stars.24 days ago  
My Favorite Classic

I reread this book every couple of years when it feels like the story is fading. A deeply moving story about friendship and hardships. With unforgettable characters like Curly, Lenny and George. I named my childhood cat Lenny. I hold this book so close to my heart.

5 out of 5 stars.7 months ago
 A Classic

I love this book! I just had to read it considering the fact that I am also from where John Steinbeck is from.
A grim nature of human existence is taught through this book and some might even say this is a very inappropriate read, but they have to keep in mind that it was written in 1937; during The Great Depression.Times aren’t the same as they were back then in regard to sensitivity. More than one valuable lesson is taught throughout this book and I would read it all over again.

5 out of 5 stars.a year ago  
A True Classic

John Steinbeck tells a poignant story of migrant workers during the Great Depression. Yes, indeed, there is racist language as well as descriptions of Lennie and others’ intolerance of his mental disability but you must remember that while this is inappropriate in 2021, it was not considered uncommon in the 1930’s. Back then, people were far less sensitive to such issues. Perfectly edited.

Frequent Flyer 417
5 out of 5 stars.
11 months ago  
Character Driven Classic

Readers should understand that this book was written by John Steinbeck in 1937. With that being said, I first read this book in 1976 and found it to be an emotionally charged, character driven classic. The story of two men who depend on each other and attempt to work and survive during the Depression. I highly recommend to those readers who enjoy well written, unusual characters whose loyalty and friendship is put to the test.

Customer reviews on Amazon for Of mice and men pdf

5.0 out of 5 stars Five mind-blown stars!
Reviewed in the United States on December 16, 2018
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Five mind-blown stars!
When I started Of Mice and Men, I wasn’t sure I’d chosen the right read. The dialogue really was not what I expected and Steinbeck’s straightforward prose cut straight to the core of the matter. However, I stuck with it and the reward blew my mind! Set in 1930s California, the story follows two destitute men as they roam, taking work where it could be found. George and Lennie had grown up together, and when Lennie’s Aunt and caretaker died, George bore the responsibility of watching over him, a man fully grown and built like a bear, but with the innocent mind of a child. Lennie, due to his ineptness, unintentionally creates situations that lead to trouble, and it was up to George to keep them both from being lynched on many occasions. George, though often frustrated with Lennie, dearly loved his friend. All they had was each other and a fanciful dream of owning their own farm. Life on the road can be desperately lonely, and to have such a good companion was a precious commodity. I was filled with respect for George who did everything in his power to take care of his dear friend.
This is not an easy read by any stretch of the imagination. While it is graced with beautiful friendships and the milk of human kindness, the book also explores the darkest aspects of humanity, and the ugly racism in the book is really hard to stomach. Steinbeck writes with a raw realism that is admirable, but his honest depiction brings the cruelty that we all know exists in the world. The story came together with such a crescendo that my heart nearly burst from my chest. I won’t spoil this for anyone who hasn’t read it, but the tale touched me so profoundly that I was left staring at the last page for ages before I could bring myself to close it.

4.0 out of 5 stars Tough Times and Misguided People—A Classic!
Reviewed in the United States on April 2, 2021
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This disturbing Steinbeck novella exposes the full range of human frailty in times of desperation and forced survival. Set in Depression-Era Salinas, California, George and Lennie form a mismatched pair of friends caught in a lonely, dysfunctional relationship, trying to escape their problematic past in search of dreams for a fresh start in an idyllic future. Economic conditions during the Great Depression were most stark and hopeless in isolated rural communities, especially among migrant workers, trying to eke out livings on ranches and farms offering boarding a low wages. Such was George’s and Lennie’s cruel conditions, where the slightest misbehaving would cast them out to search again for meager jobs of forced and dangerous labor.

Adding to the wandering duo’s plight was their own lack of skills and capabilities, leading to poor reasoning and bad decisions. This tragic tale shows how hopeless conditions bring out the worst in people, who under other circumstances might think and act much differently. The author’s masterful descriptions, especially at the beginning and at the end, are the strongest story elements. Steinbeck’s deliberate efforts to create tensions, conflicts, and agonizing decisions dominate the majority of the storyline, as characters display their wretched, atrocious, and self-serving behaviors. Readers will find dialogues and actions offensive and reprehensible, as characters live out a series of tragic events and self-destructive outcomes often resulting from their own impulsiveness.
Audible’s narration by Gary Sinise was especially worthwhile in its own right, while adding unique personalities to the characters. Both book and narration are definitely 4.5 Stars. Although this is a classic literary book, the troubling themes and derogatory elements make reading it both challenging and disturbing. Hence, this is not a pleasurable read worth repeating, except as a thoughtful and purposeful study or analysis. However, it is a life-shaping, educational experience to mature readers.

Mrs Helen S Leecy
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Good!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 12, 2020
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I didn’t really know much about this book going in. The only reference I had of it was from ‘Lost’ when Sawyer and Ben mention it on the top of a mountain holding a bunny! I now get the reference!
I don’t remember it being on the curriculum for school books, but when I was researching the category of ‘a classic you didn’t read in school’ this came up.
As I’ve said many times I’m not a big fan of ‘classic’ books, they usually seem non-sensical, and I can’t usually follow them. So, I chose this because it was short and I wouldn’t have to suffer for too long.
However, I was pleasantly surprised by this novel. It was simply written, easy to follow and straightforward in its storyline.
The characters were likeable, although there are a lot to remember and most beginning with the letter C. So they did become a little inter-mixed, and I’d have to stop and remember who everyone was.
It wasn’t overly descriptive, as there is a lot of dialogue. I loved the representation of the dialect; this really made it feel as if you were on the ranch with them listening to them chew the fat!
I even teared up a little at the end (and during with the dogs), but I wasn’t expecting the outcome, and it was really sad. So this was a pleasant surprise of a read. I read it fast as it was so easy and had a relaxed style of writing.

Call a spade a spade
5.0 out of 5 stars Spider’s Web
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 7, 2016
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My daughter had to buy this book for her English Literature GCSE Exam and she told me it was very convenient. The pages that summarise the chapter helped her find the main points she needed to revise for her exams. They were also a useful way to go back and remember what happened without having to re-read the entire chapter. There were questions at the end of the book that you could answer that helped her to understand the context, content, author and characters better.

My daughter tells me Of Mice and Men is a detailed and intricate story written in the 1930s by John Steinbeck. It tells the story of George and Lennie, two migrant ranch workers, sharing a dream of one day owning their own ranch and also their struggle of trying to survive due to lack of money. The book also includes the most important issues regarding society in America during the great depression which were my daughters GCSE topics for this novel such as racism, sexism, prejudice and the American Dream. It is a highly thought provoking story wherein the simplest of sentences has a profound deeper meaning.
Overall it’s a very good book with useful summarised pages and questions that make it easy to understand and use as a revision tool for GCSE English Literature. I would definitely recommend it for anyone who either is doing this for their GCSEs or has a teenager that is.

Peter – The Reading Desk
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful classic
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 30, 2018
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Before you finish the first page you realise that you’re reading an authentic poetic piece of literature. As with other John Steinbeck works, his recognition and homage to hard economic times in America, and the transient workforce is so subtly and vividly portrayed.
Lennie and George are two immortal characters that live well beyond the pages of this book. It is a heart-breaking story of loyalty and love, of friendship and society, and of hope and despondency. Lennie is the main discussion point in the book and it is such a sad story about the impact of a serious personality disorder, and how it can have devastating consequences to the person and those around them. I did, however, think a lot about George and how he had enabled the friendship to grow and how he tried to provide a protective shield around Lennie. He was constantly driving Lennie to remember statements he needed to recite if challenged or actions he needed to follow if confronted. They dreamed and talked constantly about the smallholding they had been saving for. They would have different crops and animals (particularly rabbits for Lennie) and be masters of their own domain. Life can be cruel when hope and aspirations can be dashed with an unforeseen event and twist of fate.

The story does have a sexist feel to it in the sense that the woman (no name) was the downfall of Lennie and was only ever referred to as Curley’s wife. There is an inference that she was Curley’s possession and perhaps her behaviour was to illustrate she was not the possession of one, but free to be with many. George showed sincere and deep love for Lennie in resolving the issue in a way which was best for Lennie while leaving himself with remorse, guilt and loss for the rest of his life. Why oh why did it take me so long to read this book – don’t make the same mistake.

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 25, 2019
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The best laid plans of men and mice often go awry. Such a short book, only 112 pages, but its powerful. Not an awful lot happens, the pace is slow, your strolling. Your meet George, Lennie, spend two days together and finish where you started but I’m sure you wont feel the same. I didnt expect much from this novella, total credit to Steinback, he has created a lot in very few words. In fact I’ve read much longer books that will prove to be less memorable. This is a definite cigarettes and whiskey kind of book and well worth reading.

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