Of Mice And Men
JOHN STEINBECK 1902 - 1968
John Ernst Steinbeck Jr. was born on February 27, 1902, in Salinas, California to John and Olivia Steinbeck. His father, John Ernst Steinbeck, had several jobs including managing a flour plant and working as treasurer for Monterey County. His mother, Olive Hamilton Steinbeck, was a schoolteacher. In 1919, John attended Stanford University. He later moved to New York City, where he worked as a construction worker and a newspaper reporter. His writing career began after returning to California some time later.
Visit the National Steinbeck Center to learn more about John Steinbeck.
'Of Mice and Men' (1937)
Two poor migrant workers, George and Lennie, are working for the American dream in California during the Great Depression. Lennie, who has a mild mental disability, is steadfastly faithful to his friend George, but he has a habit of getting into trouble. Their goal: to own an acre of land and a shack. After they both secure jobs working the fields of the Salinas Valley — Steinbeck’s own hometown — their dream seems more attainable than ever. However, Lennie’s inclinations eventually get him into trouble again, spiraling to a tragic conclusion for both men. The book was later transformed into a Broadway play and three movies.
"Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place. They come to a ranch an’ work up a stake and then they go inta town and blow their stake, and the first thing you know they’re poundin’ their tail on some other ranch. They ain’t got nothing to look ahead to.” Lennie was delighted. “That’s it – that’s it. Now tell how it is with us.”
“Well, Curley’s pretty handy,” the swamper said skeptically. “Never did seem right to me. S’pose Curley jumps a big guy an’ licks him. Ever’body says what a game guy Curley is. And s’pose he does the same thing and gets licked. Then ever’body says the big guy oughtta pick somebody his own size, and maybe they gang up on the big guy. Never did seem right to me. Seems like Curley ain’t givin’ nobody a chance.”
John Steinbeck wrote 31 books over the course of his career. His most well-known novels include Of Mice and Men (1937), Grapes of Wrath (1939) and East of Eden (1952).