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

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