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Of Mice and Men (Year 10 English)  

This resource guide will assist students with their text study 'Of Mice & Men' by John Steinbeck.
Last Updated: Feb 23, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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About the author

Born on February 27, 1902, in Salinas, California, John Steinbeck dropped out of college and worked as a manual laborer before achieving success as a writer. His 1939 novel, The Grapes of Wrath, about the migration of a family from the Oklahoma Dust Bowl to California, won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. Steinbeck served as a war correspondent during World War II, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962. He died in New York City in 1968. (


Online Databases

To research background information on the Great Depression, these search terms may be helpful:

  • Of Mice and Men
  • Great Depression
  • Dust Bowl
  • Steinbeck, John


About 'Of Mice and Men'

The compelling story of two outsiders striving to find their place in an unforgiving world. Drifters in search of work, George and his simple-minded friend Lennie have nothing in the world except each other and a dream--a dream that one day they will have some land of their own. Eventually they find work on a ranch in California’s Salinas Valley, but their hopes are doomed as Lennie, struggling against extreme cruelty, misunderstanding and feelings of jealousy, becomes a victim of his own strength. Tackling universal themes such as the friendship of a shared vision, and giving voice to America’s lonely and dispossessed, Of Mice and Men has proved one of Steinbeck’s most popular works, achieving success as a novel, a Broadway play and three acclaimed films. (Good Reads)




Related texts

The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck) Expands on themes of restoration, poverty, connection, friendhsip.

The old man and the sea (Ernest Hemingway) Expands on similar tones.

The Great Gatsby (F Scott Fitzgerald) Expand on themes of the American Dream, loneliness and the Great Depression.


Important quotes from the novel


'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.'

'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.'

"I was only foolin', George. I don't want no ketchup. I wouldn't eat no ketchup if it was right here beside me. "If it was here, you could have some.""But I wouldn't eat none, George. I'd leave it all for you. You could cover your beans with it and I wouldn't touch none of it."

"Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place. . . . With us it ain’t like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. We don’t have to sit in no bar room blowin’ in our jack jus’ because we got no place else to go. If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us.

"A guy needs somebody-to be near him." He whined, "A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody"


"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.


"Guys like us, that work on ranches are the loneliest guys in the world...with us it ain't like that"



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