Published in January 1937, Of Mice and Men marks a deliberate change from Steinbeck's previous work, In Dubious Battle (1936). In this new project, Steinbeck chose to work within a narrower framework: Of Mice and Men concentrates on a small number of characters as Steinbeck tells the story of migrant ranch laborers in carefully detailed settings. Only a short time before the composition of Of Mice and Men, thousands of itinerant single men had roamed the Western states following the harvests. Beginning in the second half of the nineteenth century, their numbers rapidly increased, reaching around 125, 000 by 1900. At the same time, the need for migrant workers was declining: farm-hands were being …

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Meyer, Michael J.. "Of Mice and Men". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 October 2006
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]