According to Marxist criticism, to interpret a literary work correctly is to concentrate on the set of social, economic, and political background appearing in the text. In order to understand characters" actions, and beliefs, the reader must acknowledge the interrelatedness of their actions and beliefs within their society. Since, Marx maintains, "an intricate web of social relationship emerges when a group of people engage in the production of goods." The economic, Marx says, "means of production within a society, what he calls base, both engenders and controls all human institutions and ideologies, called superstructure." What people do, what people think, or what people believe depend on the economical condition of the society. Being not affected, the base, inversely, has influence on people's livelihood. Therefore, to comprehend a text profoundly, the reader needs to explore the social background because "the study of literature and the study of society are intricately bound. .
"OF MICE AND MEN" is John Steinbeck's famous novel of two men struggling through wreckage of the Great Depression. In the 1930's the entire world economy was in a slump. It was one of the worst depressions the world had known. America, a world leader, was suffering right along with everywhere else. The depression had devastation effects on the country. The stock market was in shambles. Banks everywhere went under. Business couldn't continue to operate. Farmers fell into bankruptcy. Because of the Great Depression, many men lost their jobs and were forced to live on the streets or work for food. That is exactly what George Milton and Lennie Small do in "OF MICE AND MEN." These two men travel to Salinas, southern California, the author's birthplace, where they've heard manual-labor employments are plentiful. .
According to Marx's saying, when the production of goods is established, two groups of people automatically emerge; the group of employers, capitalists, or called bourgeoisie, and the group of employees, working classes, or Marxism calls proletariat.