52 in 52: Week 10: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Click image to view full coverThis book's title comes from a Robert Burns poem titled "To a Mouse"

"But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley, (Often go awry)

An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain
For promis'd joy."

This book was based on Steinbeck's own experience as a "bindlestiff" (a hobo who carries a bindle, which is a collection of belongings wrapped in a cloth and tied around a stick). It was published in 1937 during the height of the depression

This is a very "tight" story that involves a very short amount of time. It is set in California. The two main characters are George and Lennie who are farmhands with a dream.

I loved The Grapes of Wrath, and I really loved this novella. It is a "psychological novel." I don't want to spoil it. It is "gritty" though. Just a warning. Steinbeck is a brilliant writer, but he writes about the tough things. 

I love this quote from John Steinbeck's journal:

In every bit of honest writing in the world there is a base theme. Try to understand men, if you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and nearly always leads to love. There are shorter means, many of them. There is writing promoting social change, writing punishing injustice, writing in celebration of heroism, but always that base theme. Try to understand each other.— John Steinbeck in his 1938 journal entry[5]

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