John Steinbeck s Of Mice and Men , published in 1937, is one of the author s most widely read novels, largely due to its ubiquitous presence in the high school curriculum. As a result, this mythic story of two opposites - the clever, wiry George Milton and the lumbering, powerful Lennie Small - has assumed an important place in the American literary canon. The novel is deceptively simple - it is short and straight-forwardly written. But beneath this approachable surface Steinbeck explores mysterious and haunting themes, largely pivoting on the search for comfort, decency and companionship in a lonely, cruel world.
Of Mice and Men was Steinbeck s seventh novel. Though he had achieved critical and popular success with his two preceding novels, Tortilla Flat (1935) and In Dubious Battle (1936), Of Mice and Men was an instant success on another level altogether. The book was chosen as a Book-of-the-Month club selection and garnered Steinbeck the financial stability and creative confidence necessary for his embarkation on his subsequent novel, The Grapes of Wrath (1939), which continues to be viewed as the best work of his career.