Book Review | Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck

Updated: Jul 28

Birth: February 27, 1902, Salinas, California, USA

Death: December 20, 1968, New York, USA


Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck - 1937

John Steinbeck, of German origin, was born on February 27, 1902 in the state of California, USA. Coming from a poor family, the writer worked as a farmer at a young age.


He attended Stanford University at intervals between 1920 and 1926. However, he couldn't finish his school because he had to work in jobs such as masonry, painting, doorman and pharmacy. Having changed many professions throughout his life, he made the final decision on writing.


John Steinbeck, who deals with the society in different aspects in his works, has dealt with the woes of life and the poverty of people. He described the lifestyle and living conditions of agricultural workers in the California region, where he was born and grew up. So in most of the works, we see the impact of the 1929 economic crisis on people. John Steinbeck, who endorsed all American value judgments, was criticized by various audiences, especially because he approved the Vietnam War.


John Steinbeck gained great fame after his novel "Of Mice And Man", which he wrote with his deep understanding of social life, his ironic and cynical approach. Also his book "The Grapes of Wrath", which brought him the Pulitzer Prize, was released in the world of cinema.



"Of Mice And Men", a novel by Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck describing the great depression years, is published in 1937. In the work, it can be mentioned that while the tremors and changes experienced by America are given, a mirror is also held in the human spirit.


What upset me is reading this amazing masterpiece of John Steinbeck for a book exam at school. I had to underline the unnecessary details that constantly diverted me from the subject because I read exam oriented. However, the book is one of my favorites. There are so many conclusions to be drawn in this work that it may even be necessary to write books to explain them all. In 40 minutes given in the exam, I only filled 6 pages but couldn't even write half of what I thought of...


Of Mice and Men revolves around the life of antithetical two main characters: George Milton and Lennie Small. These are two miserable seasonal workers who are constantly forced to migrate, looking for a place to stay and work for them. George is witty, smart, yet doesn't possess the physical strength that Lennie has. Lennie, on the other hand, is mentally disabled but physically strong.


In each part of the book, attention is drawn to the friendship of the characters in the book and their commitment to each other. George is smarter and crafty; Lennie, on the other hand, is a character who has mental retardation, performs the act of loving a child with innocence, or rather, is not always able to do this, although he intends to do so. However, Lennie's main feature is that he is quite strong. George takes care of Lennie, does not leave her alone, and continues to claim her, even if she causes trouble in her workplace; so their journey goes on.


In the second quarter of the 20th century, seasonal workers represented by George and Lennie often lived alone. For this reason, it is not normal that our main characters go together wherever they go. Yes, we might think that it is because of Lennie was in need of help in some way. But we can't understand why a relentless man like George taking care of Lennie and trying to keep him happy. Because Lennie is a troubling, life-stricken character and also have serious mental problems. Although it does not look obvious, we sense that this is a fear of loneliness and that Lennie's power force also gives her confidence. In other words, we smell a relationship based on self-interest.


Each characters have their own dream, yet Steinbeck crudely kill each of it by reality and bitter truth. George and Lennie's dream of having their independence and homestead is barricaded by Candy's dubiousness and heartbreaking fate in the ending. Curley's wife's dream of becoming actress is stopped by her marriage with Curley and her own promiscuity. These dreams of seasonal workers have never been real. Because their lifestyle was preventing this. All their energy was exploited by the rulers, so they never had time and energy to devote to themselfs. Of Mice and Men bleakly proffers the truth that sometimes dreams never come true. George's idealism fades away, Lennie's innocence and naivety don't help him in this cruel world.


In the end, dreams die. Steinbeck doesn't mask anything in Of Mice and Men, yet the book is rich in allegories. He writes without hiding anything, portraying the ugly truth of life.



“Ain’t many guys travel around together,” he mused. “I don’t know why. Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.” /John Steinbeck
“George's voice became deeper. He repeated his words rhythmically as though he had said them many times before. 'Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don't belong no place. They come to a ranch an' work up a stake, and the first thing you know they're poundin' their tail on some other ranch. They ain't got nothing to look ahead to.” /John Steinbeck
“Guys like us got nothing to look ahead to.” /John Steinbeck
“Lennie said quietly, "It ain't no lie. We're gonna do it. Gonna get a little place an' live on the fatta the lan'.” /John Steinbeck
“At about 10 o'clock in the morning the sun threw a bright dust-laden bar through one of the side windows and in and out of the beam flies shot like rushing stars.” /John Steinbeck

“We know what we got, and we don't care whether you know it or not.”

“Try to understand men, if you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and nearly always leads to love.” /John Steinbeck
“I can still tend the rabbits, George? I didn't mean no harm, George.” /John Steinbeck
“I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that's why.”
“As happens sometimes, a moment settled and hovered and remained for much more than a moment. And sound stopped and movement stopped for much, much more than a moment.” /John Steinbeck
“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.” /John Steinbeck

“Maybe everybody in the whole damn world is scared of each other.”

“Guy don't need no sense to be a nice fella. Seems to me sometimes it jus' works the other way around. Take a real smart guy and he ain't hardly ever a nice fella.” /John Steinbeck
“His ear heard more than what was said to him, and his slow speech had overtones not of thought, but of understanding beyond thought.” /John Steinbeck
“Trouble with mice is you always kill 'em. ” /John Steinbeck
“We could live offa the fatta the lan'.” /John Steinbeck
“A guy needs somebodyto 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.”out it, but it’s jus’ in their head.” /John Steinbeck

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