Summary Mice And Men Essay, Research Paper
Two migrant workers, George and Lennie, camp for the night in a river bottom. Lennie is a large, gentle mentally retarded man, devoted to George and dependant upon him for protection and guidance. Lennie loves to stroke soft, furry things–like mice and puppies–but he does not know his own strength, and often accidentally kills them. He and George share a dream of buying their own piece of land and farming it.
The next day, they report to The Boss at the nearby ranch; George does all the talking and they are hired. They meet Candy, an old handyman with a missing hand, and Curley, the boss’s aggressive son; Curley is newly married and jealous of his flirtatious wife. When Candy leaves, Curley’s wife appears and flirts with the two companions; Lennie thinks she is “purty,” but George warns him to stay away from her. They meet Slim, the skilled mule driver who wields great authority on the ranch, and he comments on the rarity of their friendship. Then Carlson, another ranch hand, comes in and suggests that since Slim’s dog has just given birth, they should offer a pup to Candy and shoot Candy’s ancient dog.
The next day, George tells Slim that he and Lennie have been friends since childhood. He recounts how Lennie often gets them in trouble–at their last job, he tried to touch a woman’s dress and was accused of rape. Slim has given Lennie one of his pups, and now Carlson badgers Candy to take a pup and kill his dog. When Slim agrees with Carlson, Candy lets them shoot his dog, painlessly, in the back of the head. Slim goes to the barn to do some work, and Curley, searching for his wife, goes to the barn to accost Slim. While they are gone, Candy hears about George and Lennie’s plan to buy land, and offers his own savings if they will let him live there. Curley and Slim return together, with Curley apologizing for his suspicion. He tries to take out his anger by fighting Lennie, but the large man grabs his hand and squeezes, breaking it. Slim warns Curley that if he tries to get George and Lennie fired, he will be made a laughingstock.
The next night, most of the men go to the local brothel. Lennie is left with Crooks, the lonely black stable hand, and Candy. Curley’s wife flirts with them, refusing to leave until the other men come home. The next day, Lennie accidentally kills his puppy in the barn. Curley’s wife comes in and consoles him, offering to let him feel her hair. He grabs too tight, and when she cries out, he tries to silence her and breaks her neck. As the other men gather a lynch party, he flees back to the river bottom, where he is joined by George, who tells him the story of their farm one last time, and then shoots him, mercifully, in the back of the head.