Of Mice and Men (1937) is about landless rural workers and is set during the Great Depression. Two migrant workers in California come to a ranch near Soledad south-east of Salinas. George Milton, is an intelligent and cynical man while Lennie Small is a, gentle tall man with an immense strength, but a bit mentally retarded. They hope one day to reach their shared dream of settling down on their own piece of land. Lennie’s part of the dream, is merely to have soft things on the farm, be they mice or rabbits, which he can care and look after. At the ranch, they think the dream is at their hands. Candy, the aged man who helps in the ranch, asks them to accept him as a possible future partner. But the dream breaks when Lennie accidentally kills the young and attractive wife of Curley, the ranch owner’s son, while trying to stroke her hair. When Curly leads a violent group against lenny, george shoots Lenny to spare him a painful death. The title of the novel Of Mice and Men is taken from a line of Robert Burns’s poem To a Mouse, On Turning up Her Nest with the Plough (1785), which is often quoted as: “The best-laid plans of mice and men/ often go awry,” though the phrase in the original Scots of the poem is “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men/ Gang aft agley.”
The novel was first made into a film by director Lewis Milestone in 1939; then by Gary Sinise in 1992.