Why did John Steinbeck write Of Mice and Men?

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John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California, and grew up in a relatively affluent family. Growing up, Steinbeck spent his childhood watching the migrant workers in the region and even spent time as a young man working on farms throughout the valley. In college, Steinbeck worked on the Spreckels Sugar Ranch, where he interacted with many workers and heard their difficult life stories. The lifestyle of the migrant workers left an impression on Steinbeck, who was motivated to document their difficult experiences in a novella. Steinbeck was also developing his political and social views regarding the agricultural industry, which he further elaborated on in his famous novel The Grapes of Wrath. Overall, Steinbeck drew inspiration from his childhood in the Salinas Valley and his interactions with migrant workers on local ranches in the region to write a novella about the transient, difficult lifestyles of migrant workers. The characters and setting of the novella Of Mice and Men were directly inspired by Steinbeck's personal experiences and present a vivid portrayal of life as a migrant worker on a ranch in the Salinas Valley.

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Although we cannot be completely certain of why John Steinbeck wrote the novella, there are a few important clues. 

First, he was born in 1902 in Salinas, California. This setting is the same setting as many of his novels, including Of Mice and Men. Moreover, he spent time working on farms when he was young. Certainly during these times, he saw the life of migrant workers. He also certainly became friends with them. In other words, their lives impacted his life. From this perspective, he had plenty of interaction and inspiration to write. 

Second, Steinbeck was also conspicuously political. Therefore, it is clear that he was making a political point through Of Mice and Men about the hardships of the lives of the migrant workers. In Grapes of Wrath he does even more. In light of this, he probably wanted to share the story of these men to let others know what was taking place. 

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