He is widely known for the Pulitzer Prize - winning novel The Grapes of Wrath (1939). Another works: East of Eden (1952) and the novella Of Mice and Men (1937). As the author of twenty-seven books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books, and five collections of short stories, Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962. Steinbeck's novels can all be classified as social novels dealing with the economic problems of rural labour. Steinbeck does use an omniscient point of view in his writings and Steinbeck's descriptions are rich and detailed.
The plot of the book introduces us the American south in 1930s in California. The main characters are two workers George Milton and Lennie Small. Lennie is mentally disabled man with big strength. He loves touching all soft things like puppies and rabbits, but he usually crushes them, because of his enormous power. George is his friend and he takes care of him. They are going from ranch to ranch and looking for some work. They have a dream that one day they will have their own farm. At the ranch where they are currently working, they meet Candy who has enough money to make their dream more realistic. Ranch owner's son Curley provokes Lennie and he breaks his hand. Lennie does not want to hurt people or animals, but because of his mental disability he does not realize it. Curley is married, but his wife is not very happy with him. Therefore she often seeks the company of workers. One day she visits Lennie and she is impressed by his animality. He tells her that he likes soft things, so she lets him stroke her hair. Lennie presses so hard that Curley’s wife begins screaming and he accidentally breaks her neck. Lennie gets scared and runs away from ranch. George finds Lennie and wants to save him from lynching, so he shoots him in the head.
Analysis of the novella
Themes: the predatory nature of human existence