Why Was “Of Mice and Men” Banned?

John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” has been banned from libraries and school curriculums since its publication in 1937 for a variety of reasons, including its use of profane or foul language and depiction of violence and racism. For example, exclusion of the book from a school curriculum was proposed in one area in 2007 due to a character’s exclamatory use of the words “Jesus Christ” as part of non-religious dialogue. In this context, “banned” does not mean that the book was universally forbidden or censored for a consistent period of time; rather, it refers to the fact that this book has been deemed inappropriate for some audiences for a variety of reasons.

“Of Mice and Men” is the story of two American men who are searching for the opportunity to become financially independent during the Great Depression. One of the main characters is a mentally challenged adult who is depicted as being stronger than he realizes, which is a subject that occasionally leads to the book being removed from curriculums or otherwise challenged. Due to the fact that the book is relatively short, describes a culturally and historically significant time period and uses relatively simple prose, it is often thought of as a good book for inclusion in high school reading curriculums.