Of Mice and Men is one of America’s most well-known naturalist stories. Taking place during the country’s Great Depression, the narrative will show students a picture of a struggling working class. Isolation, nature, friendship, and the American Dream all hold thematic significance. Students will follow the journey of two migrant farm workers, Lennie and George, as they search for a better life on the West Coast. Of Mice and Men is ripe with ethical and social commentary, and your students will surely want to debate some of this in classroom discussions. Students will be exposed to controversial ideas and find interest in the gray areas between right and wrong.

Pinpoint Key Facts and Literary Elements

Key Facts

  • Length: 107 pages
  • Lexile® Measure: 630
  • Recommended Grade Band: 9-10
  • Publication Date: 1937

Literary Elements

  • Microcosm
  • Foreshadowing

Understand Themes and Motifs

  • The American Dream — Lennie and George desire a better life of settling down in the West.
  • Friendship — George and Lennie struggle in their isolation and depression to maintain their companionship.
  • Isolation — As migrant farm workers, the characters find it difficult to develop lasting friendships.

Explore Related Works

The American Dream


Employ Films and Other External Resources

  • Of Mice and Men has been adapted for the screen several times. The first film version was made in 1939, directed by Lewis Milestone, and was nominated for four Oscars. It also stars Lon Chaney, Jr., famous for playing Frankenstein's Monster, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, and other monsters in the famous Universal Pictures horror films of the 20th century.
  • A more recent version was made in 1992, directed by Gary Sinise and starring Sinise as George and John Malkovich as Lennie. 
  • Click here to watch the trailer for the 1992 adaptation.
  • 1992 film IMDB page
  • 1939 film IMDB page
  • Wikipedia Page
  • John Steinbeck Biography

Consider What Your Students Will Love

  • The naturalist imagery of the American landscape in the Great Depression
  • The social and ethical commentary that the narrative provides
  • George and Lennie's difficulties in seeking the American Dream — difficulties that are especially relevant for younger generations in modern America

Anticipate What Your Students May Struggle With

  • Understanding the context of the story and the gender/racial prejudices

Order Of Mice and Men Resources from Prestwick House:

Resource Format
Of Mice and Men Paperback Student Edition
Of Mice and Men Teaching Unit Reproducible Downloadable 30-Book Set
Of Mice and Men AP Teaching Unit Reproducible Downloadable
Of Mice and Men Activity Pack Reproducible Downloadable 30-Book Set
Of Mice and Men Response Journal Reproducible Downloadable 30-Book Set
Of Mice and Men Multiple Critical Perspectives Reproducible Downloadable 30-Book Set
Of Mice and Men Levels of Understanding Reproducible Downloadable 30-Book Set
Of Mice and Men Complete Teacher's Kit Reproducible Downloadable

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