Study Guide and Sample Essays on


by John Steinbeck

    • Characters
    • Plot synopsis
    • Themes
    • Genre/style
    • Critical context
    • Useful quotations
    • Sample essays
        o Steinbeck’s use of stereotypes in the novel Of Mice and Men (629 words)
        o The friendship between George and Lennie in Of Mice and Men (514 words)
        o Describe the devices Steinbeck uses to create atmosphere in Of Mice and Men (442 words)
        o Dreams and Reality in the novel Of Mice and Men (552 words)


George Milton

George Milton is the central character in the story. He is described as ‘small and quick, dark of face with restless eyes and sharp, strong features’.   He looks after Lennie and dreams of a better life. George symbolises the migrant worker’s way of life.   He leads a nomadic existence, moving from ranch to ranch to find work.   The only thing that keeps him going is his dream of owning his own ranch, although deep down he knows it is only an illusion and will never actually happen.

He needs Lennie’s friendship to stave off his major fear, which is loneliness.   He is loyal to Lennie because he knows that he is an innocent but outwardly his attitude is one of intolerance.

George has a strong understanding of the possibilities in a situation and, as Lennie’s self-appointed protector, he has to think and plan for him too. His feelings for Lennie have deep roots.   This is demonstrated by his revelation of the time he asked Lennie to jump into the Sacramento river although he couldn’t swim.   He describes to Slim how guilty he felt afterwards and it is obvious he has come to appreciate the basic decency of Lennie’s nature.

‘He damn near drowned before we could get him. An’ he was so damn nice to me for pullin’ him out. Clean forgot I told him to jump in.   Well, I ain’t done nothing like that no more.’

This revelation shows that George is capable of moral growth, which is...