Novelette by Steinbeck, published in 1937 and dramatized by the author in 1937.
George Milton and Lennie Small, itinerant farm laborers, come to work on a Salinas Valley ranch in central California. Lennie has tremendous strength but a feeble intellect, and possesses a morbid desire to handle soft objects. George compensates for Lennie's deficiencies by exploiting his strength and cherishing their mutual dream of a small farm of their own. Curley, son of the boss, is an arrogant bully whose bride's promiscuity has already caused quarrels among the farmhands. When jealousy prompts him to pick a fight with Lennie, he emerges with a crushed hand, and his wife begins to admire the unwilling Lennie. She seeks a pretext to be alone with him, and one day in the hayloft tries to arouse his desire. He begins to stroke her hair, and, when she resists, he accidentally breaks her neck. He flees to the river, planning to escape. George and a friend discover the body, and George hurriedly follows, ahead of a mob led by the enraged Curley. Finding Lennie beside a secluded pool, George calms his fears with the frequently repeated description of the farm of their hopes, and shoots him in the head.
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John Steinbeck (1902—1968) American novelist