Of Mice and Men Online by John Steinbeck
Click Here to Download the Book "A thriller, a gripping tale . . . that you will not set down until it is finished. Steinbeck has touched the quick." They are an unlikely pair: George is "small and quick and dark of face"; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a "family," clinging together in the face of lonelinss and alienation. Laborers in California's dusty vegetable fields, 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 of a flirtatious woman, nor predict the consequences of Lennie's unswerving obedience to the things George taught him.
Reviews Excellent. Just excellent. Having found a copy (ironically, the same version I had in High School), I decided to revisit it as I haven't read this in almost 15 years. I was in high school then, and certainly not in the same place that I am now. I remember being pretty surprised by the ending at the time, feeling somewhat sad for Lennie, but never really finding myself attached to the story itself, or the other characters. Having reread it, I can understand why this is a classic. In a mere 107 pages, Steinbeck manages to create characters that you not only want to see succeed, but also that you come to care for on an emotional level. The book breezes by so quickly that I found myself wishing that I could stay with the characters a bit longer, if only to find out a bit more about them. Ironically, that's a close breeze with many of our relationships in the real world. I think that I know just enough about Lennie, George, Crooks, and Slim, that I want to know more, to learn their character and humanity on a deeper level. If I were to discover more about them, would I view them differently? Of course. Just as in our real relationships, we find that our perspectives ebb and flow depending on how much, or how little we know - our imagination filling in details that we certainly shouldn't. Steinbeck's writing cuts skips unnecessarily fancy prose, and gets right to the heart of the matter. Instead of giving us back story through 'info dumps', where the author feels the need to relay his or her level of expertise, research, and ability to delve into historical context Steinbeck primarily uses dialogue. In that dialogue we are able to discern just what makes up the character of the men we come across in this story. The way we learn about these men is the way we would learn about them if we were to really meet them, through conversation. In that way, maybe that's why we feel such a connection to these characters because we don't feel as if we're the reader on a roller-coaster through Steinbeck's imagination, but as a silent participant who just happens to be privy to each conversation that occurs in the book. I imagine that each person who reads this will take something different away. We're not given many details on who the characters are, or what makes them tick, but simply listen to them as they speak. We are free to learn what we will from them. Excellent read, and excellent author.
Wow! Not a book to read before going to bed! My heart was throbbing with anxiety when Lennie was in the barn with Curley's wife. Then by the river... This is a beautiful book, but very melancholy. I loved reading Steinbeck's description of the river in the opening scene. I recognized his writing style and the description was so peaceful. The action built from there, slowly, then faster and faster. The more the book advanced, the more I wondered what would go wrong in the end, because I expected that something would. It was nice to see how so many different characters could come together in hopes of fulfilling a dream that until then they had never dared to dream before. Of course, I knew it couldn't end perfectly. That is not characteristic of Steinbeck's writing. A lot of things foreshadowed what would happen in the end, (the water snake swimming peacefully at the beginning of the book, then being eaten by a heron at the end, the old dog that was shot), and yet I was still surprised. The ending is not what I had expected.
No matter how old I get and no matter how many times I've read it, Of Mice and Men continues to be one of my favorite books of all time. I'd even go so far as to say that Of Mice and Men could be one of the great American novels. Set during the Great Depression, Of Mice and Men tells the story of George and Lennie, two roving farm hands looking for work that pays enough that they can one day afford their own piece of land. However, trouble tends to follow the two as Lennie has the mental capacity of a small child, which tends to lead to a lot of problems. After escaping from one town after Lennie unwittingly assaults a young local girl, George hopes that their next farm will bring the peace for them that they have always sought. However, the dream is too good to be true as Lennie continues to get himself into trouble, leading to the heartbreaking climax. This is seriously a must-read novel for everyone. No ifs, ands or buts! Everyone should read Of Mice and Men. If you haven't yet, I'd definitely suggest that you pick it up ASAP. It is a sobering slice of life during the Great Depression masterly written by one of the greatest American authors of our time. You can't ask for anything better!
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