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Judging from all the questions sent to eNotes about Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, it must be very frequently assigned by teachers all over America. I assume they assign the book because students like it. Steinbeck was one of America's very best writers, and he was extremely popular during his lifetime. Many of his books have been made into major-studio motion pictures, including East of Eden and Grapes of Wrath. Of Mice and Men has been made into Hollywood movies twice, the latest starring John Malkovich as Lennie. Steinbeck creates interesting characters. He was noted for his ability to write good dialogue which characterizes the speaker and advanced the plot. He was often compared with Ernest Hemingway, who was perhaps the best dialogue writer of all.
Of Mice and Men is a very short book. It can be read in a couple of hours. This makes it easy to read, easy to digest, easy to understand, easy to remember. It is full of dramatic conflicts that keep the reader interested. Steinbeck grew up among the kind of lower-class people he writes about. He is not sentimental about them, although he is understanding and compassionate. Reading Of Mice and Men should inspire many students to go on to read some of his other works, such as his masterpiece The Grapes of Wrath, as well as some of his many fine short stories. Of Mice and Men was published in 1937. The fact that it is still popular shows that it is a classic.
I personally recommend Of Mice and Men because at one time I liked his writing so much that I read just about everything he had ever published.
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