In John Steinbeck's novel, Of Mice and Men, what is the setting?

Expert Answers
rnewall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Setting in terms of place is California, as experienced by the migrant workers Steinbeck had researched for the San Francisco News; their unsettled lifestyle creates  loneliness which is a major theme of the book. The specific setting of Soledad (spanish for loneliness) also reveals Steinbeck's concerns.

Setting in terms of historical time is The Great Depression which has forced the likes of George and Lennie onto the road to find work, and makes them impoverished. However, despite this their dream house becomes a reality when Candy offers up his money. It is not financial hardship which destroys the dream but George's inability to protect and control Lennie (resulting in the death of Curley's Wife). George wants to believe that Lennie has a place in this world (the dream house). Following CW's death, he sadly no longer believes this.

We can see that Steinbeck's themes here are vast: the loneliness of the human condition and the nature of the world we live in. It attempts to go further than a political analysis of the causes and effects of The Great Depression.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The setting of Of Mice and Men is California during the Great Depression.

The book starts near Salinas, California along the central coast.  The men are headed to a ranch, after having been run out of Weed in Northern California.

Steinbeck begins by painstakingly describing the nature in the Salinas valley.

A few miles south of Soledad, the Salinas River drops in close to the hillside bank and runs deep and green. (ch 1)

During the 1930s, times were tough.  Many people were traveling from ranch to ranch trying to find work.  George and Lennie did this.  This is why they were headed to a new ranch.  They could never stay in one place too long.  They and other migrant farm workers had bigger dreams, but few chances.

Interestingly enough, the entire book takes place over only a few days.  When the story begins, it is Thursday.  We know this because George and Lennie arrive on a Friday.  It ends on a Sunday.  It is a compact book with a compact time frame.

booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The setting of the novella by John Steinbeck, entitled Of Mice and Men, is in the United States, specifically in California, during what is called the Great Depression, during the 1930s. This terrible economical disaster began with the Great Crash of 1929, when the bottom fell out of the Stock Market. People lost jobs, life savings, businesses and their homes. Thousands of families and individuals searched for work, sometimes moving across the United States.

Steinbeck's story is the result of research he did while working for a newspaper on migrant workers of the Salinas Valley in California in the mid-1930s. His assignment for the San Francisco News would ultimately form the basis for story presented in Of Mice and Men, with themes that would be further developed in Steinbeck's classic novel entitled, The Grapes of Wrath, which focuses on a family traveling from the "dust bowl" of America to find a better way of life in a time of loss and alienation.

thegamecreator | Student

the setting of this story is simply USA, California during the Great Depression were people are trying to find jobs.