John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men centers around the relationship between two men, Lennie and George. Lennie is both strong and gentle, and he also has some learning difficulties. He sometimes gets confused and causes damage when he panics, which eventually has tragic consequences. George travels with Lennie and looks after him, even though he often resents it. The two men work as travelling laborers, but they dream of owning some land together one day.
Early in the story, George and Lennie arrive at a new farm where they are hired to help with the harvest. There they meet various secondary characters, including Candy, an older farm worker who previously lost his hand in an accident on the farm and who likes the sound of George and Lennie’s dream. They also come across Curley, the boss’s son, a vicious man who immediately takes a dislike to Lennie. Curley’s wife (who is never named) is glamorous and attractive. The men see her as a dangerous distraction, but she is clearly unhappy with her life on the farm. Lennie also briefly befriends Crooks, an African-American man who is forced to live separately from the other men and experiences racist abuse from the others.