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Of Mice and Men

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Joseph O'Connor Biography to Cynthia Ozick Biography

a short novel by John Steinbeck, published in 1937 and dramatized in 1937 by the author. The principal figure, George Milton, is a resourceful and independent intinerant labourer, with a dream of finding some future security on a farm of his own. He is limited by having assumed the guardianship of Lennie Small, a drastically incapable person, with the mind of a retarded child in a physically powerful man's body. Lennie's tragedy lies in his mental inability to control his physical behaviour, as he kills soft things which he loves to fondle. While they are working on a ranch in Salinas Valley, California, the provocative attentions of the ranch boss's wife attract Lennie's interest, but he accidentally kills her when she resists his caresses. Compelled to run away, he is hunted by a mob led by Curley, the enraged ranch boss, whilst George hurries to find Lennie first before the posse reaches him, to shoot him in an act of kindness, thereby shattering their idyllic dream.

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