This novel’s title originates from Robert Burn’s poem “To a Mouse” written in 1785. Steinbeck’s book shows comparisons to this poem. One way it shows this is through the powerless and doomed fate of the mouse that has no control over what could happen to it based on its condition (“Reith”).
Steinbeck had originally titled the book Something That Happened. It was originally intended to be a children’s book. This was mainly because of the childlike innocence given from the characters. It was however proven to be much more complex and adult themed than originally intended ("The Making").
In Robert Burn’s poem he wrote about how the plans and ideas of man can and do often go astray. This gave the inspiration for the theme and title to Steinbeck’s book. This shows that the best plans and thoughts can be thwarted. These plans can be destroyed by many innocent distractions. Even if the best intentions were meant, it still ends in an unpredictable way (Scarseth).
Steinbeck got the inspiration to write this book in the summer of 1922 through his experience at Spreckels Sugar Company Ranch. He worked there with Filipino and Mexican labor. The landscape of the book was familiar to where he worked. He worked in an oasis type river and renamed the location to a place called Soledad which meant solitude (Hays)...
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...elist John Steinbeck Has Sometimes Been Criticised as a Sentimentalist. Duncan Reith Uncovers the Bleak Political Pessimism Behind His Novel of Ranch Life During the Great Depression, Of Mice and Men." The English Review Nov. 2004: 6+. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 11 Jan. 2012.
Scarseth, Thomas. "A Teachable Good Book: Of Mice and Men." Censored Books: Critical Viewpoints. Ed. Nicholas J. Karolides, Lee Burress, and John M. Kean. Scarecrow Press, 1993. 388-394. Rpt. in Novels for Students. Ed. Diane Telgen. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 11 Jan. 2012.
"Stage and Screen." Of Mice and Men: A Kinship of Powerlessness. Charlotte Cook Hadella. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1995. 64-81. Twayne's Masterwork Studies 147. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 11 Jan. 2012.
Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. New York: Penguin, 1993.
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