This novel tells the story of Lenny and George, two men who travel from ranch to ranch looking for jobs after the economic crisis of 1929. Both of them share a big dream to save up enough money to buy a ranch of their own and life off the land raising farm animals. All of their hard work and effort are invested into this dream but achieving it might be harder than they think.
George and Lenny, at first, appear to be two friends that work together; however, they have concealed the fact that Lenny is mentally handicapped. So George has to work restlessly to make sure both of them can survive while taking care of Lenny. This is particularly difficult due to the fact that once their employer finds out about Lenny’s condition both of them are usually fired. Therefore, keeping a stable job with a steady income is nearly impossible. Despite having to deal with more issues than expected, George is willing to fight for him and Lenny until they can have a ranch with lots of animals, even if that means having to make sacrifices. His drive is admirable, for he has no relation to Lenny, yet he has taken it upon himself to take care of him and make him a permanent part of his life. Nevertheless, their plans always seem to fail. The message transmitted by Steinbeck in this novel is that in reality, dreams might not always be achievable, and failure is a part of life that everyone has to cope with.