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Analyze in detail how Of Mice and Men,by John Steinbeck reveals what life waslike for migrant ranch workers during theAmerican Depression of the 1930s

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Adam Painter July 2001 Analyze in detail how Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck reveals what life was like for migrant ranch workers during the American Depression of the 1930s John Steinbeck's first hand experience of what life was like during the American Depression allowed him to write an accurate novel on life during this dull time. It also gives us a good idea of certain aspects of the Depression; about how migrant workers lived and also how they were treated. The Depression changed people's thoughts and views on life, how sensitive they were to others and how they acted around people. This is especially true of the migrant workers in Of Mice and Men. Loneliness took a major role in the migrant workers' lives. The vast majority of the workers traveled alone across America, moving from ranch to ranch. Family values were non-existent, because of this they didn't belong anywhere. The workers believed it was survival of the fittest between them. There were a large number of drifting workers, all-looking for the same jobs. Competition for work was fierce. There was a general feeling of loneliness at the time for the workers. George emphasizes this feeling when he is talking to Lennie by the brush: 'Guys like us, which work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. ...read more.


says Lennie. Because they have each other, they have a better chance of realizing their dream. They both have someone to talk to and travel with which helps them not get so lonely. It is this companionship that gives them their chance. Also, because of their companionship, they are very different from all the other workers on the ranch. None of the other workers had someone to travel with. Their companionship is seen as very unusual: 'Well, I never seen a guy take so much trouble for another guy.' says Carlson. Slim also says: 'I hardly never seen two guys travel together.' It was a rare thing to see during that period. It was also rare for the workers show genuine care for each other of for anyone else. George and Lennie are an exception to this. Along with the good things that came with travelling together, George and Lennie's companionship also brought along suspicion. Suspicion was very common on the ranches. The boss is suspicious as soon as George and Lennie arrive. He is suspicious of George because he won't let Lennie speak: 'I said what stake you got in this guy? You takin' his pay away from him?' He later says 'I got my eye on you.' It isn't just the boss who is wary of the workers. ...read more.


Candy tells about how one guy would clean the potatoes if they had spots on them and he would scrape off the red bits in the eggs. Candy also complains of a stomachache the turnips gave him and asks for some whiskey to treat his stomachache. Overall life in the bunkhouses was very harsh. In conclusion, the novel has given us a very clear picture of what life like for the migrant workers moving from ranch to ranch. Loneliness was a serious part of their lives. It was part of a vicious circle that included entertainment, money and their dream. Their dreams were what kept them going. But loneliness would continue to stop them realizing their dreams. They were so lonely they needed the entertainment to help them escape from their loneliness and boredom after work. This cost money; money they needed to realize their dream, and from entertainment they wasted the money they needed to realize a dream, and found themselves lonely again, causing the vicious circle to continue. Life was very rough on the workers. No family to speak of or get closed to. They believed that they didn't belong anywhere. They went to a ranch, worked up a stake and then blew it in the nearest town. This would happen every month and even though the workers dreamt, the vast majority eventually realized their dream would never come true. But kept dreaming to keep up some hope even though deep down they realized it was not possible. ...read more.

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