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The novella Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is one that is well worth reading, and since there are many editions, the pages mentioned can cover different passages. But the first Chapter of the novella introduces the reader to the setting of the Salinas Valley during the Great Depression. Two men enter the scene a "few miles south of Soledad," where they will soon begin work on a ranch. Lennie Small and George Milton are representative of the thousands of itinerant workers in the 1930s, men who left families out of desperation for work, men who were alienated and alone. Steinbeck's novella deals with this terrible aloneness of the men and their search for meaning with a fraternity of others.
Having won national recognition for this book, Steinbeck went on to win the Nobel Prize in 1962. Many of his characters are memorable, and Lennie and George are ones a reader does not soon forget. Lennie, who moves with the clumsiness of a bear, and George who is small and quickly observant, find themselves working on the ranch where they meet Old Candy, a swamper who has lost his hand. He cleans the bunkhouse while the others work. Slim, the mule skinner with "God-like eyes" enters in the evening as does the boss's son, Curley. George worries that the pugnacious Curley may cause him and Lennie problems.
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