Of Mice and Men (1937) by John Ernst Steinbeck is about landless rural workers (braccianti) in California during the Great Depression. Two migrant workers (emigrati) come to a ranch near Soledad, south-east of
. They are George Milton, an intelligent and cynical man, and Lennie Small, a kind (gentile), tall man with an immense strength (forza enorme), but mentally retarded. They dream to get enough money to build their own ranch (sperano di guadagnare denaro sufficiente per comprarsi un loro ranch). Lennie in particular hopes to have soft things on the farm, like mice (topi) or rabbits (conigli), to look after (di cui occuparsi) . The dream seems to become true (il sogno sembra avverarsi) at the ranch, and also Candy, an old man who helps in the ranch, asks them to become their possible future partner. Unfortunately the dream breaks (si infrange) because Lennie accidentally kills the young and attractive wife of Curley, the ranch owner’s son (il figlio del proprietario), while trying to brush (spazzolare) her hair. Curly wants to get revenge (vendicarsi) and leads a group of violent men against Lenny, so George shoots Lenny (spara a Lenny) to spare him a painful death (per risparmiargli una morte dolorosa).
The novel was adapted into films in 1939 and for TV in 1981. The last film version (1992) was directed by Gary Sinise – now the protagonist of C.S.I. New York – who also played as George with John Malkovich in the role of Lennie. Salinas