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How does the novel Of Mice And Men reflect life in the 1930s?

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1. Harry Lovejoy. 'Of Mice and Men Essay.' Question-'How does the novel Of Mice And Men reflect life in the 1930s' John Steinbeck was born in 1902 in Salinas, California. His mother was a teacher and the reason why he learned to love books and his father was a county treasurer. He attended his local school and in the holidays worked on farms and ranches, this is the reason he is able to give such an insight to how life was there. After school he went to Stanford university studying marine biology but did not get a degree. He then went to New York for a short time were he worked as a reporter for the American Newspaper, before going back to California to concentrate on is writing. He wrote many books including Sea of Cortez, Of Mice An Men and A Russian Journal Before winning a noble Prize for Literature in 1962. The novel is based in California in 1936 during the great depression. Lennie who is badly handicapped is being looked after and watched over George, together they are looking for work in California. The novel I am doing this essay on I 'Of Mice And Men' by John Steinbeck. The book was written In 1936 and also based in this period. This is in the middle of the great depression, which started in 1930 when firms and 2298 banks went bust and losing everybody's savings and finished at the beginning of the first world war. During the depression millions of people were left wondering around looking for jobs and surviving any way they could. All this came jut after the boom of the 1920s where it was easy to find work and everybody was paid very well. In the 30s Steinbeck was also one of the 13million people without a proper job, this is because his writing alone would not be able to support him. ...read more.


The boss looks down to the men as just workers, he doesn't interact with the men at all. The workers see the boss as very quick tempered but generally okay. On page 21 George asks Candy about the boss, he says 'what kind of a guy is the boss.' Candy replies 'well, he's a pretty nice fellow. Gets pretty mad sometimes but nice.' All the men dress in denim jeans and jacket. They wear these because they are very hard wearing and lasts along time. The way they dress reflects on how they are living because they are wearing tough clothes which relates to the fact they are sleeping rough and in they jobs they are doing a lot of hard labour. Also they last for a long time because they don't have the money to buy more. None of the men have many possessions, they only have what they can carry as they have no job security so if they get to much Stuff and get fired they would have to leave it behind. The only person who has a lot of possessions is Crooks, he has lots of books magazines and even a shotgun, this is because he is likely to keep his job because he is the best at it. None of the men have luxury items as none of them can afford any, this is because of the depression as there is no extra money for any one. Lennie and George among all the men have a dream for better things. The dream is for them to own their own piece of land with their own animals to look after. To Lennie hearing the dream is like a small child hearing it's favourite story, he knows how it goes but wants to hear it. He's always asking George (like on page 16) to tell him the dream and how he is going to tend the rabbits. ...read more.


I think the story represents what life was really like for women in the 1930's correctly. In the story Crooks, Candy and his dog represent a world of intolerance quite well. In the book Crooks is a very useful person as he is very good at his job but is not tolerated by the other workers because he is black, compared to Candy who is old and not really any use to any one as all he can to is sweep the floor, but he is tolerated. This maybe because he is white, also because he is a human. When the other workers decide that Candy's old dog is no good for it's self, they take it out side and shoot it because it is only a dog. Candy says' They wouldn't shoot me when I'm no good', suggesting that white humans are tolerated more than dogs or black people. The workers respect each other and are polite to each other but at the same time it's every man for him self as they cannot rely on anyone else to help them to much. The workers know its every man for himself as they no if they want anything such as to follow their dream they have to work for it themselves and not hope that other people will help them. Even tough they know they are on their own all the workers are friends and watch out for each other on the ranch. Most of the men don't mind Lennie as they no he means well and is no trouble but Curley shows a more realistic view of him, which would represent the 1930's better. Curley shows a lot of intolerance towards Lennie as he is seen as not normal, he shows this intolerance by continuously threatening him and in the end starting a fight with him. From looking over my work I believe the characters in the novel 'Of Mice And Men' show that they were living in the 1930's very well. Their belongings jobs and actions all show that they were living in this period. ...read more.

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