Summary: Steinbeck’s tale of commitment, loneliness, hope, and loss remains one of America’s most widely read and beloved novels
While the powerlessness of the laboring class is a recurring theme in Steinbeck’s work of the late 1930s, he narrowed his focus when composing Of Mice and Men (1937), creating an intimate portrait of two men facing a world marked by petty tyranny, misunderstanding, jealousy, and callousness. But though the scope is narrow, the theme is universal: a friendship and shared dream that make an individual’s existence meaningful. Of Mice and Men also represents an experiment in form, which Steinbeck described as €œa kind of playable novel, written in a novel form but so scened and set that it can be played as it stands.€ A rarity in American letters, it achieved remarkable success as a novel, a Broadway play, and three acclaimed films….Read more.
A wonderful story of commitment, patience, and understanding. You can listen to it in a single sitting, but the themes will stick with you and can be pondered over and over. Steinbeck is truly a genius!
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Audiobook Of Mice and Men: Summary
This title is available with a variety of editions and narrations. Personally, I prefer the unabridged, original version of the book, though it’s also possible to find copies with annotations and chapter summaries included in each section.
In Chapter 1 Of Mice and Men the story begins by introducing the two main characters: George and Lennie.
George and Lennie are California farmworkers, and are immediately established as foils to each other. Lennie is a very large man with indistinctive facial features, while George is short and has a sharp, pointed, and well-defined face.
The Of Mice and Men Audiobook Chapter 1 begins with the now infamous opening lines:
A few miles south of Soledad, the Salinas River drops in close to the hillside bank and runs deep and green…
It soon becomes clear that Lennie, the larger of the two men, is also slower, even dumb-witted, and is tied to George, a cunning individual, with an unexplained loyalty.
For example, we find out in the Of Mice and Men Chapter 3 audio that:
Why he’d do any damn thing I tol’ him. If I tol’ him to walk over a cliff, over he’d go.
Though it becomes clear that George also has a strong sense of affection for Lennie, which can be seen in the way he scolds and reprimands Lennia for small things (such as accidentally killing a mouse) only to turn with an air of understanding for his companion.
As the novel progresses, Steinbeck reveals that George and Lennie have a history of getting into trouble. The two have plans to turn straight, however, and buy land, but when a few nights later the crew goes out to the local bar, Lennie winds up petting a woman’s hair and accidentally breaks the woman’s neck in the process, as he’d done with the mouse earlier in the book.
After the murder, Lennie runs away to a pool in the Salinas River, and the townsfolk gather together a lynching party to capture him. George runs ahead, guessing where Lennie went, and consoles his friend with stories of the farm they’re going to buy.
George then takes out a gun and shoots Lennie, just before the mob arrives.
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