Of Mice and Men Essay: Example and Tips

The novel “Of mice and men” by John Steinbeck tells the tragic story of two California laborers during the Great Depression. The book deals with the concepts of dreams, guilt and sympathy. The book is based on the personal experience of Steinbeck, who worked in agriculture in the 1920s. “Of mice and men” is often used as a topic for literary essay.

About writing “Of mice and men” essay

Essay is the most creative task you get while studying. Even though essay is a free genre with no strict rules, we still recommend you to stick to the standard composition, which consists of:

  1. Introduction (assumes the submission of general information to familiarize the reader with the topic of the essay. Without going into details, introduce the reader to the topic and win his interest. The main task of the introduction is to make the reader decide that he wants to read this essay. Tell the facts about “Of mice and men”.)
  2. Main body (this part reveals all the information. The main part consists, as a rule, of three paragraphs, each of which presents one argument and evidence in its favor. Write about your fillings and thoughts about problems touched in “Of mice and men”.)
  3. Conclusion (pair section to introduction. Sum up all the arguments and information and leave the reader convinced that you are right. Express general impression of “Of mice and men” on you.)

We recommend not to break this composition, especially if you only start writing in the genre of essay and if you are not familiar with the teacher’s demands.

“Of mice and men” literary essay example


A dream! Everyone has a dream in life. Only a dream often becomes a support in life, it allows you to hope for the best, to cope with adversity, with the burden of work, with injustice. So the heroes of this little work of Steinbeck, George and Lenny have their own dream that George Ranch invented for Lenny, where you can be your own master, work and feed the rabbits. They are single people going through life together. It is very touching to read about Lenny, so strong that he can kill a little mouse with his caress. There is so much good in him, but his mind is like that of a child. And George, who takes care of Lenny – he has no benefit from such a union, only love for a friend, from whom he has some trouble in life. It is a heavy book with hopelessness in every line, in every page, in every word. And from the first page it was clear that such a life could not last for a long time, that everything would end and the dream would also remain just a dream. It was very painful to read about the dream of these two, and not only them, because their dream is so simple, that it is understandable and close to everyone, and everyone who is with them also joins their dream, although they know well that it is probably unrealizable.

Main body. 1st paragraph

This small book by Steinbeck appears in almost all the lists of literature, which are obligatory for reading. What does the author say in this small piece? At first glance, nothing special. Two friends – George and Lenny – are looking for work. They care for each other and travel together. Lenny is mentally retarded, however, he has tremendous power that he cannot control. George is a smart and sensitive guy, who has learned to direct Lenny’s power to the right and useful course and to prevent catastrophes. George and Lenny have a dream, their goal is to buy a small farm for themselves, to work for themselves. George and Lenny find work on a farm where Curly is the son of the owner, a guy who likes to use his impunity. When Curly once again crosses the line, Lenny breaks his hand. In addition, George misses the moment and does not prevent even more catastrophe. However, the author conceived the work as a parable. And as a parable, this story is read very simply: Lenny personifies the people. A people who do not want much. He wants to have his piece of land, his house, work honestly and earn enough. A wise ruler directs the power of a powerful, but naive and simple people in the right direction, feeding him with dreams of a happy life in contentment. And people behave like obedient mice. But if people face arbitrariness and lawlessness, their bowl of patience will overflow, and then he will begin to sweep away everything in his path. And then who will be in the role of mice?

Main body. 2nd paragraph

“Of mice and men” is a short story about dreams that people cherish. Parable and at the same time touching story. Lenny and George are hired laborers moving from one ranch to another in search of a living. And they have a dream – one for two – their own piece of land, beds, rabbits and, in fact, independence. Despite the fact that, contrary to the habit of hired workers, they do not let down most of their earnings in bars and girls, they have no luck and they stick in different stories. The fact is that Lenny is a good-natured goof whose head “holds nothing”. He is incredibly strong and his work is quick, but he has the mind of a small child, and from such a combination, as they say, do not expect good. The sad end of the story is felt literally from the first lines and the oppressive feeling does not leave for a second. And with each new character we meet in the process of reading, gloomy suspicions increase. The book gives rise to a pinching feeling of injustice, sympathy for the main characters, wonderful guys in their essence. There are few characters in the story, but each of them has a special meaning, a combination of spiritual and moral qualities. In fact, they are collective, typical images with the help of which the author conveys his world view to us. Steinbeck opposing stupid, but kind Lenny, to quite normal but with a flawed soul, Curly. They make us once again ask ourselves the main philosophical questions, correct our attitude towards people who differ from generally accepted norms.

Main body. 3rd paragraph

Awesome story about friendship, about hope and about loneliness. Steinbeck very vividly described the life of simple laborers during the great depression, who had no money nor housing, but no one could deprive them of their faith in the best. And now life on the ranch is in full swing, sometimes even reaching the comical: every appearance of Curley’s wife made me smile for a long time. Until her very frank conversation with Lenny, always able to find additional trouble on her ill-thinking head. He would only dream of furry animals and follow all the advice of a friend, but is such a person capable of such a feat with the development of a five-year-old child? Unfortunately, it was obvious what the consequences could be from a huge fellow with a broken cause-and-effect relationship, who could not control his strength and emotions, but I threw away these thoughts – he’s such a good-natured one! And mice … And what mice? In childhood, many carelessly broke their toys. I justified the big man, and in the end I justified. His friend George is an empathic older friend, ready to take on the heavy burden of caring for fear of loneliness. He cares about his friend in ways that not every relative could. Unprecedented strong friendship on the verge of brotherly love! Their dialogues are solid skirmishes, but in the eternal swearing, we still read warmth to each other. I was even surprised when George didn’t shoot a bullet in himself. After the fatal mistake of an insensible friend, life still did not stop. The work on the ranch was in full swing, but there was simply no more friend. Would he continue to dream of his own ranch given that the realization of the dream was so close? For some reason I doubt it.


“Of mice and men” is an amazingly simple and at the same time deep story about ordinary workers living during the Great Depression in California. This is a story about a dream, faith and friendship. After reading this novel, I began to love Steinbeck more and more.

Strangely enough, but after reading the story, it was completely reluctant to watch the film version, despite its popularity and high rating. But I don’t want to because watching it will kill all the heroes who I imagined in my head. The story is written in such an interesting and exciting way that you do not even want to look at how the director understood it. It is better to leave some free space for your imagination.