Chapter One

  • (Page 1) Why does Steinbeck describe the setting with such detail?
    • What is the relationship between George and Lennie?
    • Describe how their "voices" differ.
  • (Page 5) What observations can you make about Lennie based on his attachment to the dead mouse?
  • (Page 7) What do you think could have happened in Weed to make George and Lennie leave?
  • (Page 9) Steinbeck compares Lennie to a terrier - What does this comparison say about Lennie?
              • What does it say about the view of handicapped people during the 1930s?
              • How have views on the handicapped changed/stayed the same today?
  • (Page 11) George complains about having to take care of Lennie. Why might George keep Lennie around?

Chapter Two
  • (Page 20) What can we assume about the boss from Candy's description of him?
    • Candy claims he is a nice man - What evidence do we have for/against this statement?
    • Is Candy a reliable source of information? Why/why not?
  • (Page 22) Why might the boss jump to the conclusion that George is taking advantage of Lennie?
    • Why doesn't George simply tell the boss the truth about Lennie instead of claiming to be his cousin?
  • (Page 25) Why is Curly hostile towards Lennie?
    • Is Curly's attitude justified? Why/why not?
  • (Page 31) Lennie thinks Curly's wife is "purty" - Should the sexual attraction of a handicapped person differ from that of a non-handicapped person? Why/why not?
  • (Page 33) Slim is described as a talented, good looking, well respected man on the ranch. Does this give him reason to flirt with Curly's wife? Why does he seem to get away with it?

Chapter Three (part I)
  • (Page 39) Why does George put himself down when talking to Slim?
  • (Page 40) What is the correlation between smarts and niceness?
  • (Page 41) Does George trust Slim? Why?
    • Do you believe George? Could Lennie have potentially raped the woman in Weed?
    • What are Carlson's reasons for shooting the dog verses Candy's reasons for not wanting to shoot the dog?
    • How are Candy and his dog similar?
    • Who is being literally silenced? Who is being metaphorically silenced? How? By who?
    • What effect does the personification of silence have on this scene?
    • What does this say about how Whit thinks/feels about work?
    • What does this say about George and Lennie and how they feel about their work?

Chapter 3 (part II)
  • (Page 51) Why does Curly's wife spend so much time around the men? What is she looking for?
    • Do you think she will find whatever she is looking for from any of the men on the ranch?
    • Who is most likely to fall for Curly's wife?
  • (Page 52) Susy's whore house is a seemingly normal place for the men to visit. How might the same type of place be seen today? Is this acceptable? Why/why not?
  • Why do minor characters, even Susy the prostitute, and the dog Lulu, have names, but not Curley’s wife?
  • (Page 56) George and Lennie's dream of owning their own land is becoming a reality. Lennie is obviously very excited - he has been waiting for his rabbits for a long time. How might George honestly feel about his dream actually being in reach?
  • (Page 58) When George and Lennie are talking about their dream, Lennie reacts violently to the hypothetical idea of the cat hurting the baby rabbits. What do we learn about Lennie through his reaction?
  • (Page 59) We discussed the parallels between Candy and his dog and now Candy sees this parallel himself and wants to join George and Lennie on their potential land. Why does Candy want to join George and Lennie - who he just met - so badly?
    • How does George feel about letting Candy in on his dream?
    • Why does George decide to let him in on it?
  • (Page 61) We have seen George lie before. Why does he choose to keep the dream and Candy's involvement from the other ranch hands?
    • Why does he choose to keep it from Slim who we have seen him confide in before?
  • (Page 62) Carlson suggests Curly's wife has no place outside of the house. What does this say about his opinion on women? What does this say about the 1930's opinion on women?
    • Has this opinion changed since the 1930s? How so? How is is similar?
  • (Page 64) Who has the most power and influence on this ranch?
  • (Page 65) Respond to Lennie's reaction to the fight.
    • Would Lennie have fought back if George had not told him to?

Chapter 4 Discussion Questions
  • (Page 67) What are Crook's advantages/disadvantages as the only black man on the ranch?
  • (Page 71) Why does Crooks torture Lennie about potentially losing George?
  • (Page 75) Why might Crooks have a different relationship with Slim than the other men on the ranch?
  • (Page 77) Compare Crooks and Curly's wife (who are both secluded from the other characters).
  • (Page 83) Compare Crooks' attitude about George and Lennie's land on pages 76 and 83. How does his attitude change? Does it change?

Chapter 5 Discussion Questions
  • Initial reactions to Chapter 5.
  • R: (Page 91) Lennie says "I done another bad thing". What bad thing do you think he is referring to? Do you think this is the type of bad thing George was anticipating?
  • (Page 92) Lennie discard the dead puppy to lessen the situation. What do you think his rationale is in doing this?
  • R: (Page 92-93) Why might Steinbeck wait until Curly's wife is dead to describe her in such a beautiful way?
    • How do you feel about Candy's wife after reading Chapter 5?
    • Is she more human to us as readers now that she is dead?
  • R: (Page 94-95) Why do George and Candy give up on their dream? Why can't they do it without Lennie?
  • R: (Page 94) How do you feel about Candy's reaction to Curly's wife's dead body? Why might he still cling to this idea of her as a tart?
  • R: (Page 96) What is your reaction to how Slim examines Curly's wife's body?

Chapter 6 Discussion Questions
  • Reactions to the ending of the book.
  • Reactions to the book as a whole.
  • What did you take away from Of Mice and Men?
    • Feelings, new thoughts/perspectives, ideas...
  • (Page 99) What parallels can you draw between the description on page 99 to the end of the chapter?
  • (Page 100-102) What do you think was going through Lennie's head when he envisioned/halucinated his dead Aunt Clara? The over-sized rabbit?
    • What do you think the significance is of Aunt Clara talking to Lennie (in his own voice)? The over-sized rabbit?
    • Are Aunt Clara and the over-sized rabbit representative of other characters/opinions/voices from earlier in the book?
  • Chapter Six ends in the same location Chapter One began. How is the ending of the novel similar/different from the beginning of Chapter One?

Poetry Reflection Questions
  • How did you feel while writing your poem? What was your writing process? What was difficult about writing your poem? What was easy?
  • How did you feel about reading your poem aloud? If you didn't read, how did you feel about having your poem read out loud?
  • How did you notice yourself react to your classmates' poems?
  • Whose poem spoke to you the most? Why? How? (e.g. wording, content...)
  • How did you notice Of Mice and Men words/phrases used differently in the poems you and your classmates wrote? How did you notice them used similarly?