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Of Mice and Men is a John Steinbeck novel set in the 1930s telling the story of migrant ranch workers and their dreams. The story focuses on two main characters, Lennie and George, who travel together. Lennie is a large, strong, mentally challenged man, while his friend, George, is small-framed, quick and intelligent. The name of the novel comes from a line contained in the second-to-last stanza of a famous poem written by Robert Burns called "To a Mouse" which summarizes very well what happens in the story.
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain
For promis'd joy.
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- Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. New York: Covici-Friede, 1937.