Of Mice and Men - Lifestyle of the Average Itinerant Worker in America During the Great Depression Essay

Words: 1852
Pages: 8

Diverse Cultures - English Coursework
What have you learnt about the of 1930’s, as depicted by Steinbeck in “Of Mice and Men?”

The Great Depression was a worldwide economic breakdown. It was the largest and most important economic depression in modern history; it began in the United States on Black Tuesday with the Wall Street crash of October 1929 and rapidly spread worldwide. It lasted about a decade, ending in the early 1940s.

Poverty stricken, life became a struggle to survive. Banks, stores, and factories were closed and left millions of people redundant and hopeless. With limited options, many men left their families and travelled a lonely road in search of work. The novel “Of Mice and Men” is a reflection of the suffering
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However, the workers were prisoners of their financial state.

Steinbeck shows us that the social environment in which the story takes place is one of violence and hostility. These is a lot of mistrust “A guy on a ranch don’t never listen nor he don’t ask no questions.” Minding your own business and staying out of trouble was vital, anyone who knew too much would place themselves in danger. George and Lennie’s arrival at the ranch causes confusion; most of the other characters find it strange “ain’t many guys travel together.” Even the boos thinks something I wrong, he suspects George is using Lennie for his strength and is taking his pay. This suggests that people didn’t trust each other and thought it was weird for them to have a true friendship. Possibly, the other characters could be jealous as “It’s a lot nicer to go around with a guy.” The men have forgotten how to be nice and therefore are lonely.

Steinbeck included a lot of violence to show how life under difficult circumstances made people callous. The writer uses death symbolically, starting with a mouse and gradually to bigger animals and Curley’s wife. This may be used to show the harsh extent of cruelty and could also prepare the reader for the death of the largest, Lennie. Carlson simply shoots Candy’s dog because it ‘stinks’, even Curley’s wife threatens to get Crook “strung up on a