About the Book

Book Protagonist: George Milton, Lennie Small
Publication Date: 1937
Genre: Literary Fiction, Novella


Of Mice and Men

By John Steinbeck

‘Of Mice and Men’ is a short novella that retells the struggles of ordinary American citizens during the Great Depression. Its quotes and dialogues are deep in the same sense as the characters are in themselves.

John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’ deploys quotes that grab the very inner feeling of a generation greatly troubled by social and economic hardships. The characters therein feel threatened against their livelihoods, dreams, and overall existence, which makes the ensuing quotes go from aggressive to emotional to desperation.


They walked in a single file down the path…dressed in a denim trouser…wore black, shapeless hats and both carried tight blankets rolls slung over their shoulders.

Of Mice and Men is a tale of struggle and hardship for the peasants. The book is wrapped around a general theme of servitude and enslavement. Steinbeck introduces this excerpt at the start of the book to offer a picture-perfect scenario of what it feels and looks like to be in the sort of social caliber that George and Lennie belong.

The characters in the book ‘Of Mice and Men find themselves in a position where they are unavoidably reliant and dependent on the haves for survival. They are in a state of complete servitude, and this goes as far as offsetting the real plans they have for their own personal progress and achievements.

Despite having plans to break free from this chain of servitude to pursue their own dreams and businesses and become their own boss, it never came to materialize after Lennie dies, thus shattering a group of dreams tied together and ushering in the start of a new circle of servitude for those who are still living.

Sacrifice and Burden

I could get along so easy and so nice if I didn’t have you in my tail. I could have lived so easy and maybe have a girl.

This is one very popular quote that John SteinbeckOf Mice and Men’ character, George, uses to express the degree of the mental strain he goes through daily for being responsible for Lennie. He sacrifices everything for Lennie. Readers learn that George is far more than a friend to Lennie, and he’s become like his primary caregiver after opting to informally adopt Lennie when the latter loses his aunt, Clara.

From that moment of their childhood begins George’s burden to protect and take care of Lennie, who is not the greatest person to look after, seeing as he has a couple of mental issues to grapple with, and these make him unable to learn or remember stuff easily.

But George is happy to be there for Lennie, his best friend, although he sometimes occasionally loses his cool out of frustration and vents his anger towards Lennie, often resulting in a threat by the disgraced to leave and go be a recluse up in the hills.

Bond and Friendship

I want you to stay with me, Lennie, Jesus Christ, somebody’d shoot you for a coyote if you was by yourself.

This quote shows there is a lot of friendly love and care going on between the book’s two major characters. George is almost always mad that Lennie often accuses him of being the bane of his life, but he equally always makes a u-turn to remember their history together and how much he really cares for him.

George produces this great quote of love and cares towards Lennie after Lennie threatens to leave George and wander off into the wilderness by himself where no one can hide or take a dig at him for being so Lennie.

Hate and Prejudice

I ain’t wanted in the bunkhouse…cause I’m black. They play cards in there, but I can’t play because I’m black. They say I stink. Well, I tell you, all of you stink to me.

Produced by arguably the most bitter character in ‘Of Mice and Men, Crooks, this quote shows just how far racism and white prejudices were during this time of the Great Depression.

Crooks is reported to be the only black person at the ranch, and for that, seems to face a series of unfair treatments from the others – who are all white. For one thing, Crooks complains that the others won’t let him into the bunkhouse because of his skin color.

For another, he gets psychologically abused when the men tag him smelly – which is ironic because he is in fact the most organized and clean character judging by the way he tidies his room. Crooks soon resort to hating the other (white) men, only loving his own company and the peace and quiet of his little chamber.


What quote did George use to show how much he has sacrificed for Lennie?

“I could get along so easy and so nice if I didn’t have you in my tail. I could have lived so easy and maybe have a girl.”

Why did George have to kill Lennie?

George kills Lennie to give him a painless, easier death before Curley and the others can find him and give him a slow, painful death.

What did Slim do to lift George’s spirit after George kills Lennie?

“You hadda, George. I swear you hadda. Come on with me.”

Victor Onuorah
About Victor Onuorah
Victor is as much a prolific writer as he is an avid reader. With a degree in Journalism, he goes around scouring literary storehouses and archives; picking up, dusting the dirt off, and leaving clean even the most crooked pieces of literature all with the skill of analysis.
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