Of Mice and Men is a 1937 novella by the American writer John Steinbeck that is set during the Great Depression. It is one of his most famous works and is widely taught in high schools, and it is often challenged for its content. The title comes from a Robert Burns poem.
The story follows two friends, George and Lennie, who are itinerant workers in California. When the book opens, they have been run out of the town of Weed because Lennie, a slow-witted, powerful, and gentle man, touched a woman's clothes and wouldn't let go. George is the more rational and practical of the two and assumes the role of Lennie's protector. They both dream of having their own farm someday, where Lennie, who likes soft things, can tend the rabbits.
The two men find work at a new farm, where they settle in but have some clashes with Curley, who is the son of the boss and a small, angry man with a sultry wife who flirts with the men. The conflict escalates when Lennie fights with Curley and crushes his hand. To make matters worse, Lennie accidentally kills Curley's wife and, once again, the men are forced to flee, although George initially stays with the other workers. Curley gets together a group to track and kill Lennie. The book has been filmed several times, notably in 1939 and 1992.