Of Mice and Men Summary

This video provides a summary of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. When George and Lennie find new work during the Great Depression, fights, friendship, and murder ensue. Plus, there are rabbits (and mice, of course). Just another day for farm workers during the Dust Bowl.

American LiteratureAll American Literature
AuthorSteinbeck - John Steinbeck
FormNovel
LanguageEnglish Language
LiteratureAmerican Literature
ThemesDreams, Hopes, and Plans
Freedom and Confinement
Friendship
Innocence
Isolation
Justice and Judgement
Man and the Natural World
Prejudice
Violence
Visions of America
Weakness
Women and Femininity

Transcript

00:23

Lennie Smalls, indeed. If he's small, then I'm the president of the United States.

00:27

…Hey… drop it! Sometimes that guy drives me crazy, obsessing

00:33

over ketchup and then asking me to tell the same story for the nine millionth time.

00:40

Yes, we’ll get our own place, yes we’ll live off the fat of the land, and there will

00:47

be lots of rabbits. Enough already! It’s bad enough that I’m constantly changing

00:48

my address to avoid all the angry letters from animal rights activists.

00:49

And the guy’s a hopeless case with the ladies. He’s got the “strong, sensitive” thing

00:49

going for him, but grabbing a gal’s dress and refusing to let go isn’t the way to

00:51

get a second date.

00:52

Aw, who am I kidding? Even though he's a pain in the backside, I just can't stay angry at

00:56

Lennie.  Maybe I'll even get him a rabbit.

00:59

Okay, maybe a stuffed one... I’m not sure if I like the new gig yet;

01:04

bucking barley is hard work. And it also sounds like slang for throwing up.

01:09

The company sure leaves something to be desired, too. There’s Candy, the handless wonder,

01:14

and his stinky dog, and the charming Carlson, who disliked the stinky dog enough to volunteer

01:19

for shooting duty.

01:22

What is this, Old Yeller?

01:23

Crooks is always grumpy, just because he’s a friendless cripple who lives next to the

01:27

manure pile and gets picked on because he’s black. He doesn’t even appreciate his awesome

01:32

nickname. Cuz he has a crooked spine, get it? What a whiner.

01:37

Then there's the boss' son, Curley, who, sadly, is nothing like the Stooge. He is a little

01:44

like Moe, I guess. They both have bad hair and anger management issues.

01:48

Curley’s married to…well, how do I describe his wife…she’s like a small-town Marilyn

01:54

Monroe, if Marilyn had married the wrong guy, and become a malevolent, soulless harpy.

01:58

I don’t like her, can you tell? In fact, I haven’t done much since I came

01:58

here but squabble with Mr. and Mrs. Curley. I don’t know that woman’s name, but I

02:01

know her middle name...trouble. She's totally boy-crazy, which is a very bad

02:06

thing when your husband's a jealous boxer.  

02:11

Champ or no, he sure made a mistake picking a fight with Lenny. Curley almost had to change

02:16

his name to "Stumpy."

02:19

Luckily, my buddy Slim convinced Curley to zip his lips about the smooshed hand incident,

02:24

and getting that wise guy to shut up about anything is a pretty good trick.

02:27

Slim’s pretty good with people, actually. He's kind of like the ranch therapist. …

02:28

I’m starting to change my mind about Candy, too, now that he isn’t stinking up the place

02:32

with that dog.

02:33

He found out about our dream of starting a rabbit-friendly farm…

02:37

…and it turns out the old dude has a chunk of change stored up.

02:41

Now, if I can just keep Lennie out of trouble long enough to save a bit more, we might be

02:45

living on easy street pretty soon! Or, maybe not. Lennie just killed another

02:51

one. Except this time, it’s not a mouse…it’s a lady. Guess who?

02:53

First they bonded about petting things, and next thing I know I’m lookin’ at a dead

02:54

broad and no Lennie. Curley’s gonna go off his rocker.

02:58

I just had time to cook up a cover story with Candy… nothing ruins your day quite like

02:58

being framed for murder… before the gang showed up and started baying for blood.

02:59

Slim took me aside, and made some good points about Lennie’s future. Either my best buddy’s

03:03

going down under Curley’s gun, or it’s straitjackets and the nuthouse for him.

03:08

Lennie’s no hardened criminal, and I don’t think they allow pets in the mental asylum.

03:14

I guess I know what I gotta do. Field mice everywhere can breathe a big sigh of relief,

03:18

but I’ll never look at a rabbit the same way again.