Homework Help

What is the setting of "Of Mice and Men" and why is it important?

user profile pic

pinkbowkmw993 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 31, 2009 at 7:19 AM via web

dislike 2 like

What is the setting of "Of Mice and Men" and why is it important?

4 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 31, 2009 at 11:17 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 4 like

The setting is Salinas Valley in California during the Great Depression.  Salinas Valley was the home of many large farms during the Depression.  This is important because large farms employed large numbers of workers, often up to hundreds.  Farm workers with no steady employment, known as migrant workers because they traveled to find work, would head to these communities.  George and Lennie are migrant farm workers, and so it is logical that Salinas Valley would be their destination.

The reason that Steinbeck makes them migrant farm workers is because these type of men were perfect highlight the lonliness and alienation created by the Depression.  These men had no home, no place and few belongings to call their own.  They were constantly at the mercy of the farmers, and of the weather - in bad conditions, they could be homeless again in moments.  Besides being homeless, they would quickly be friendless.  It was impossible to develop lasting relationships in this transient lifestyle.

This is why George and Lennie - and later, Candy - dream about getting a home with a little vegetable garden, etc..  They don't want much, they just want to be settled and to have permanancy in their lives.

user profile pic

Yojana_Thapa | Student, Grade 10 | Valedictorian

Posted February 1, 2014 at 12:06 AM (Answer #6)

dislike 0 like

The setting of "Of Mice and Men" is set in California during the Great Depression. It is important because it contributes to the theme, rising conflict as well. The theme of American Dream. George and Lennie are hunting for jobs and when they finally found one, they want to have their own farm with the money they earn. Lennie wants to tend rabbits. This setting sets a perfect mood and atmosphere.

user profile pic

crystaltu001 | Student, Grade 10 | Valedictorian

Posted July 7, 2014 at 12:44 AM (Answer #7)

dislike 0 like

The setting of Mice and Men took place in the Salinas Valley. That is where most crops were grown back then in California. It is important because it goes together with the theme of the story.

user profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 31, 2009 at 12:31 PM (Answer #4)

dislike -1 like

Interestingly, the Salinas Valley which is known as "America's Salad Bowl" is an extremely fertile area and even has an extended period of time in which crops can be grown compared to northern regions of California.  Then, in the midst of all this fertile land with abounding life, there is the setting of "Of Mice and Men": a "few miles south of Soledad."  The word soledad in Spanish means "solitude."  Of course, Steinbeck chose this location purposefully to underscore the aloneness of George and Lennie and the other men working as itinerant workers in such an area of rich land in the 1930s.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes