Of Mice and Men: Five Lessons Learned from John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck published ‘Of Mice and Men’ on this day. Here are five lessons exploring the meaning behind this classic novel.

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Today commemorates when John Steinbeck published Of Mice and Men. This classic is about the American Dream and two men named Lennie and George who want to own their own farm. In order to make that dream come true they need to find work. An opportunity comes up, but will they be able to reach that dream or will consequences occur?

Of Mice and Men


1. Racism

Racism was seen throughout the book when it came to the character Crooks. Crooks was isolated from the other ranch hands becuase he was black. Crooks was a proud bitter man who always was cautious. Given his status in the 1930s he always had to have his guard up, hence his rudeness towards Lennie and George. The boss’s son Curly would always make offensive comments towards Crooks and be rude and aggressive to all the workers. But John Steinbeck teaches us that racism is not okay. Racism has been in the 1930s and to me that teaches me how even with hisotrical times, we need to destroy racism.

2. American Dream

Lennie and George had this wonderful dream to own a farmhouse and have a beautiful garden with bunnies scurrying around. It was just theirs and they can have a place to live and create profit with their farm. As the story progresses this dream fuels them to work hard and find opportunity where they can. Even when things become difficult, their dream inspires them to keep moving forward and find solutions behind their situations. But even though the American Dream is a good thing, we also can learn that its unattainable and just striving for it is rewarding.

3. Don’t Judge a Book by it’s Cover

Although Lennie seems intimidating and big, he is a clueless sweetheart who just wants a nice home with George. Despite his strenght he is kind yet ignoratn. He doesn’t want to hurt anybody and has a mind of a child. When Curly always aggressively attacks him Lennie doesn’t put up a fight. He is a gentle giant.

4. Mental Health Awareness

When it comes to the two men, Lennie is a child at heart. This could be due to trauma, physical abuse, or a numerous amount of mental health issues. Steinbeck has brought that idea to the forefront. Mental health should be a possiblity when someone you see isn;t responding to social cues. We want to understand, learn and listen to those who struggle with communicating, understanding, or being in a place of discomfort when put into a certiain situation. Lennie is a great example of learning to treat someone who sees things differently with kindness and understanding. Unfortunately it seems that George is the only one who knows how to truly handle and understand Lennie.

5. Tough Love

George provides tough love for Lennie. He has been helping Lennie and getting him in line for every job opportunity they have had. When things get difficult he always has his back. So when Lennie is being misunderstood at this new ranch, George takes it upon himself to shiled Lennie from the hurt and defend him when needed. In the end George had to make the toughest sacrfifce to save Lennie forever.

“The hand shook violently, but his face set, and his hand steading. He pulled the trigger”

Steinbeck, 107

If you haven’t read Of Mice and Men I encourage you to. What other lessons can be hiding beneath those pages? If you are into movies after reading the book there is an adaptation of Of Mice and Men


If you want more interesting information on Steinbeck go to Bookstr.