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Of Mice And Men Book Summary

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Chapter 1

Setting : It is a hot Thursday, late in the afternoon. The characters are four miles south of Soledad. They stop right by the Salinas River, a beautiful river in rural California surrounded by woods that have a warn path through them that runs to the river from the ranches and farms. There is a giant sycamore near them with a horizontal limb worn smooth by men who have sat on it, and under it is the ash pile of many fires. It is a very peaceful and heavenly setting.

New Characters :

George Milton : Described as being small, quick, dark of face, wiry, with restless eyes; everything about him is defined, bony, sharp and strong. He looks out for Lennie's safety, although he loses his temper at Lennie easily. He often goes on long rants about how life would be easier without Lennie, but he actually likes having him around. (FOIL of Lennie)

Lennie Small : Described as being huge, shapeless, with sloping shoulders, pale eyes, slow moving and awkward. He has a mild mental disability and therefore acts childish and has an innocent air about him. He gets George out of work frequently, but is almost blindly devoted to his friend. (FOIL of George)

Plot Summary : George and Lennie are headed to the ranch where they are supposed to start work the next day. The bus driver dropped them off quite a ways from their intended destination (George complains about this later) so they have to walk the rest of the way (1/4 of a mile). Things that happen : Lennie stops to drink from the Salinas River; Lennie is found with a dead mouse; George warns Lennie to behave himself; George decides they will stay the night; Lennie's strength and love for soft things is revealed; George rants about Lennie's ungratefulness; George tells Lennie his favorite story; George tells Lennie to return to the clearing if any trouble happens like in Weed.

Statement : People who are very different from one another can still have a very idealistic friendship. All you need to get by in life is to have one true friend. Someone who seems to make you angry can really be your best friend.

Chapter 2

Setting : Friday morning at the bunkhouse, a long rectangular building that is barely furnished, only with eight bunks (three of them not with sheets). An applebox is nailed above each bunk for shelves, upon which there was soap, powder, razors, magazines, medicines, combs, and some neckties on the nails of the boxes' sides. In the middle of the room is a square table and boxes for chairs, and by one wall is a cast iron stove.

New Characters :

Candy : An old swamper who's missing one hand; "stoop shouldered". Has an old dog.

Whitney : The previous bunkhouse occupant who is overly clean; was a blacksmith.

The Boss : Owner of the ranch below Soledad where Lennie and George work.

Crooks : Negro stable buck who had a back injury from a horse kicking him, likes to read.

Smitty : Fought with Crooks at an earlier Christmas party.

Curley : The boss' son, a small young man who wears a Vaseline-filled work glove on his left hand and high-heeled boots to distinguish himself from the laborers. He is thin with a brown face, brown eyes, and tightly curled hair. Once he was a lightweight boxer and is very aggressive. Curley hates "big guys" since he's small.

Slim : A jerkline skinner, skilled mule driver, and the local authority. He is very tall and has an air of wisdom about him. He also has a dog named Lulu that recently had puppies.

Carlson (Carl) : A ranchhand.

Curley's wife : A tart; a tease. Has "the eye", gives it to everyone but Curley. Heavily made up all the time. She also has a nasally, grating voice.

Plot Summary : The next morning, Lennie and George make their way to the ranch, where they're greeted by Candy. Things that happen : George gets worried because he finds a can of lice powder; George asks Candy about the boss; the boss questions George and Lennie and gets suspicious; George and Lennie are assigned to work under Slim, picking up barley with the threshing machine; Candy overhears George getting mad at Lennie; Curly appears, looking for his father; Curley's wife appears, looking for her husband; Slim enters and is impressed by the friendship of Lennie and George; the triangle rings for dinner, leaving Lennie excited at the idea of a puppy to have.

Statement : You'll meet people who clash with you all your life, but usually you have to try and get past that. Sometimes you'll meet people you're friendly with. The weak are not tolerated in life.

Chapter 3

Setting : Friday evening in the bunkhouse, after the work day.

New Characters :

Whit : A young laborer at the ranch.

Bill Tenner: Former pea cultivator operator at the ranch; a little guy, but very nice.

Susy : Owns a house in town; two fifty a go. A laugh, has five girls in her house.

Clara : Owns a different house; three bucks a crack, 35 cents a shot. Her girls aren't "clean" (VD), according to Susy.

Andy Cushman : Went to grammar school with Lennie. His Mom used to make hot cakes for the kids; now in San Quentin because of a tart.

Plot Summary : At the end of the workday, Slim and George return to the bunkhouse. Things that happen : Slim gave Lennie a puppy and George thanks him; Slim appreciates George and Lennie's friendship; George trusts Slim and tells him of what happened in Weed and also how Lennie and George became traveling companions; Lennie attempts to smuggle his puppy into the bunkhouse; Candy and Carlson appear as Lennie is away putting his puppy back; Carlson and Slim pressure Candy to shoot his old dog; Whit distracts the men in the bunkhouse with a magazine while Carlson takes Candy's dog outside and shoots it; Crooks enters and leaves with Slim to fix a mule's cracked hoof; the men talk about the trouble of having Curley's wife around; Whit invites George to accompany the group to the local whorehouse on Saturday night (although George says he can't afford to waste money); Lennie and Carlson return; Curley appears, looking for his wife again,



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