Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck has been banned or challenged since its publication in 1937.
Parents wishing to ban the book from the Community High School of Normal, Illinois in 2003 give a typical challenge:
the novel … contains “racial slurs, profanity, violence, and does not represent traditional values.” [120 Banned Books]
And it does, but this relatively short piece of fiction is also a terrific bit of lit.
Steinbeck wrote it as a ‘novel-play’ in three acts with two chapters (or scenes) in each act. So it isn’t surprising that the Of Mice and Men has been adapted for the stage, screen (large and small) and radio. It has even been turned into an opera. The dialog certainly reads like a dramatic stage play. It is gritty and hard scrabbled like the men to utter it.
On our matrix of why a book might be banned Of Mice and Men checks lots of boxes: Racism, Offensive Language, Alcohol, Sexually Explicit, Political Viewpoint, and Violence.
Steinbeck’s utopian dream for Lenny and George of one day owning their own little farm, of living off the land and not being beholding to a boss has been called out by some.
Censors claim that the novel contains crude heroes who speak vulgar language and whose experience exhibit a sadly deficient social system in the United States [Ibid]
The book was challenged in Chattanooga, Tennessee, because “Steinbeck is known to have had an anti-buisness attitude.” [Ibid]