Of Mice and Men Web Quest Introduction

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Of Mice and Men Web Quest


In order to better appreciate the novella Of Mice and Men, written by John Steinbeck, you are going to conduct a web quest project in which you examine the time period and setting in which the author lived and wrote the novella. By closely examining the time period and setting, you will gain a better understanding of the social, cultural, and economic factors that influenced the author and are reflected in the story. You will gain an appreciation of what it was like to be a migrant worker in the Salinas Valley of California during the 1930’s and Great Depression. The novella focuses on topics of poverty and dreams, friendship and loneliness, and despair and hope. In addition to gaining a better understanding of the context of the novel, this web quest will also enable you to understand how many of the societal, cultural, and economic factors that Steinbeck addressed in Of Mice and Men are still relevant in America today.

Learning Goal:

To research the social, cultural, and economic issues that influenced John Steinbeck’s writing of this novella.

John Steinbeck: Author

  1. List AT LEAST 6 of the major facts about Steinbeck’s life.

  2. How might one classify Steinbeck’s work?

  3. Besides Of Mice And Men, what were some of Steinbeck’s other novels?

  4. What are three important awards that Steinbeck received for his writing?

  5. What is the purpose of the Steinbeck Award? What is the criterion for recipients? Who are some past recipients of the Steinbeck Award?

John Steinbeck Brief Biography

Another Steinbeck Biography


Steinbeck Timeline - Salinas

Of Mice And Men: The Setting

  1. What are the geographical features of California’s Salinas River Valley? How might you describe the area?

  2. For what is/was Salinas Valley well known? What kinds of jobs might be available there?

  3. How did living and growing up in the Salinas Valley influence Steinbeck?

The geography of Of Mice and Men

Setting in Of Mice and Men


The Great Depression of the 1930s:

1. What was the Great Depression? What were the causes? Provide at least four.

2. What were some of the results of the Great Depression? Provide at least four.


The Migrant Worker:

1. What is a migrant worker?

2. What is a tenant farmer?

3. Are there migrant workers or tenant farmers today? Describe the types of people they are and what kinds of lives they lead.

4.  During the 1930's, why did workers want to come to California?

5. What were the living conditions of migrant workers in California?

6. How were migrant workers affected by the Great Depression?

7. What was the Dust Bowl? How did it affect migrant workers and tenant farmers? 

Migrant Labor? 

More on Tenant Farmers

Even more on Tenant Farmers

Migrant Labor in the United States

Migrant Experience 



Mental Disabilities:
1. What is a mental disability?

2. How does a mental disability affect a person's everyday life?

3. What is a caregiver and what difficulties do they face?

4. How were mentally disabled people seen in the 1930's? How are the mentally disabled seen today?

5. What is the role of friendship in caring for the mentally disabled?

6. What do mentally disabled people add to our society?


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