Monday, November 23, 1987

John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men published 50 years ago today

First posted 6/24/2020; last updated 7/6/2020.

Of Mice and Men

John Steinbeck

First Publication: November 23, 1937

Category: tragic fiction/novella

Sales: ?

Accolades (click on badges to see full lists):

About the Book:

The New York Times called it “a thriller, a gripping tale…that you will not set down until it is finished. Steinbeck has touched the quick.” AZ

“Steinbeck based the novella on his own experiences working alongside migrant farm workers as a teenager in the 1910s…The title is taken from Robert Burns’ poem ‘To a Mouse,’ which reads: ‘The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley.’ (The best laid schemes of mice and men / Often go awry).” WK

Of Mice and Men “tells the story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers, who move from place to place in California in search of new job opportunities during the Great Depression in the United States.” WK “They are an unlikely pair: George is ‘small and quick and dark of face;’ Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a ‘family,’ clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation.” AZ

They “have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations of a flirtatious woman, nor predict the consequences of Lennie’s unswerving obedience to the things George taught him.” AZ

While “taught in many schools, Of Mice and Men has been a frequent target of censors for vulgarity and what some consider offensive and racist language; consequently, it appears on the American Library Association’s list of the Most Challenged Books of 21st Century.” WK

Resources and Related Links:

Monday, November 16, 1987

Life 101

a short story

“Okay, class dismissed. See you back here in ten years to discuss your grade.”

So my wife finally left me - and took the kids. I spiraled downward into a stupor and lost my job.

“Then what happened?”

Well, I got a job at a car plant, but that only lasted three months. Then I was a waiter. Then a janitor, a cook, and then a security guard.

“What about your personal life?”

My relationships weren’t lasting any long than my jobs. Bosses were kicking me out of their offices; girls were kicking me out of their beds. Occasionally I even slept with this woman who was married to a real creep. I was convinced she was going to leave him.

“And did she?”

Of course not. But I left her. Not her so much, just that town. I couldn’t hold a job and finally got evicted from my apartment. My brother in Omaha said I could come live with him.

“How did that go?”

Fine, for awhile. I wasn’t finding a job, but I needed some time to take it easy. I was going to museums and libraries - and the occasional massage parlor. I was reading a lot and painting. I was also watching a lot of TV. Eventually it was just the TV - and the occasional massage parlor.

“How did your brother react?”

He finally kicked me out. He couldn’t take it anymore. Then my parents took me in. They insisted I go back to college and finish my degree. I could live there as long as I was doing that. I commuted thirty miles every day. I quit after three weeks.

“So then what?”

I begged an ex-girlfriend to take me back. I moved in with her and she supported me for awhile. She got her ass pinched at a truck stop for forty bucks a night and was fucking one of the regulars occasionally. We didn’t last long.

“Wow. Do you realize you have not succeeded at anything?”

So my parents keep telling me.

“Why do you think that is?”

If I get bored with something, I quit. I won’t do it if it doesn’t make me happy.

“So is it working?”


“Congratulations. A+.”

Sunday, November 1, 1987

There's More Than One Fish in the Jerkwater: Inspirations from a Fish Part Two

It is better to be alone than to roll your eyes. I can always write or listen to tapes as a substitute for companionship. One must enjoy his own company before he can enjoy anyone else’s.

Weekends can last forever. Of course, sometimes they last two days. It is better not to be alone than dry your eyes. Oooh! Starting to get a bit melancholy, aren’t we? Have no fear...

“Fear Is Never Boring”

I’m trying too hard to be creative.

Dave, get a haircut.

Hell, no, we won’t go...”

Well, I’ll be The Damned.

I would love to go back to Georgia on a college road trip with a half dozen friends. Two cars, signs in the windows, and a babe that looks like Justine Bateman.

God, I want that Rolling Stone.

Family Ties is on tonight.

Art class, art class. You blonde, you.

“It’s hard to be a man when there’s a girl in your head...”

Close, but no cigar. Cabiche? Oh, those New York gang stories and Kiss posters. And the paddle and potty pass. Stand! Can you believe that?

“Change, it doesn’t matter who you are...”

“Ch- ch- ch- changes...”

“I’m moving through some changes...”

“Don’t change a thing for me...”

“It’s getting late for scribbling and scratching on the paper. Something’s gonna give under this pressure. And the cracks are already beginning to show. It’s too late.”