Of Mice and Men
Of all the Novels I have read, John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men is one of the best. Written in 1937, this is one of Steinbeck's best works. The story is centered on George and Lennie, two migrant farm workers who are stuggling to make it in a harsh world. The two get a job at the Tyler Ranch, where they find that their dream of owning a ranch of their own is finally within reach.
Dreamer George Milton and mentally challenged Lennie Small are two migrant farm workers, recently chased away from the town of Weed after a misunderstanding involving Lennie and a girl in a red dress. The two aquire work slips from Murry and Ready's, and get a job at the Tyler ranch. When there they meet Slim, the charismatic "Prince of the Ranch", Curley, a small time welterweight boxer and Candy, an old, one handed swamper. Lennie has a habit of getting into trouble and often kills small rodents like mice. George often scolds him, but tries to keep him in line by promising Lennie that they will get their own place and Lennie will be able to tend the rabbits. Candy over hears them talking about this dream of a ranch at one point. He says that he has quite a bit of money saved up, and he will pitch in in exchange for having stuff to do, as he is beginnig to feel useless around Tyler Ranch. Shortly afterwards, Lennie and Curley get into a fight. Lennie isn't too bright, but he's as powerful as a bull. Lennie injures Curley's hand, and Curley is sent to the doctor. A few day's later, Lennie has a chat with Curley's wife, and things take a turn for the worse.
The characters in Of Mice and Men are all great. They are all very fleshed out and well developed. Lennie Small is a very likeable, kind, innocent man, with the mind of a six-year old child. He doesn't change much throughout the story, but that suits his character well. He's simple, but he doesn't know how to control his strength. He also isn't aware of the consequences of his actions.
George acts as a parental figure to Lennie, despite being roughly the same age. George looks out for him, and does his best to keep him out of trouble. He keeps Lennie in line with the idea of petting the rabbits the two will own when they have their own place. He is truly tested when Lennie makes a terrible mistake, and George must make a major decision.
The other minor characters are also very well fleshed out, and they all serve a purpose in the story. Steinbeck does a great job of giving each character something to do, and making them all seem real. The book paints a vivid picture of the great depression.
Of Mice and Men is a great book, with an ending that will stick with you for a long time. If you haven't read it yet, I would highly recommend picking it up. If you're too lazy to read a 107 page book, then there are also a few screen adaptations that are worth your time. There is the 1939 Burgess Meridith/Lon Chaney Jr. version and there is the 1991 Gary Sinese/John Malkovich version. Both are great adaptations that capture the spirit of the book well. I hope you consider this book as one of the next novels you read.