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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 I am doing this essay on I 'Of Mice And Men' by John Steinbeck, set in California. 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 everybodies savings and finished at the beginning of the second world war. During the depression millions of people were left wandering around looking for jobs and surviving any way they could. All this came just 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. This is similar to page 11 in the book where Lennie and George are looking for jobs, they also didn't have much money so they are unable so buy the simplest things such as ketchup for their baked beans. ...read more.


Although she is very unhappy with Curley and says that he is bad man, she stays with him. This could because she knows one day he will get the ranch and have quite a lot of money compared to everyone else. She knows that if she sticks with him she will have a secure future. However one of the reasons why the men stay away from her is because she is a flirt and could get them into trouble. For example when Lennie and George first started working she came over to George and flirted with him. She would have to be careful because if she did get caught with another man she could be kicked out, and then would not have such a secure future. The men mainly see women as people they tell what to do and sleep with. They don't treat any women with respect except for Susi who runs the brothel in town, they tend to teat her with some respect as she shows them a good time, is nice and is honest. The men go town to go to the brothel to sleep with women at the end of each month when they get their pay. On page 55 they talk about Susi's place saying things like' Susi's a laugh', 'Theres no water in her whisky' implying that she is honest. They generally talk about what a nice place it is and how nice Susi is. From this you can tell that she is the only women they give any respect. Although Curley never really showed his wife any respect or showed he loved her. When Lennie killed her he goes cold and gets very mad and upset. He immediately gets his gun and organises two teams to find Lennie and shoot him. This shows that he did love her even though he didn't treat her very well. Another character is Slim, he tends to keep to himself and is very calm and quiet. ...read more.


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 though 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 better 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. I also believe the character of Crooks, Curleys wife and the boss all show how different people were treated at this time. ...read more.

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