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Of Mice and Men

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Year 10 - coursework piece one (Diverse cultures) Introduction Of Mice and Men was written by John Steinbeck in 1936. It was published in 1937. The novel was originally called "Something that Happened" but it changed later on. The novel is set during the time of the Great Depression in the 1930's. It was a time when millions were unemployed and men wandered from state to state looking for work. The Great Depression was a world-wide economic slump that began in October 1929 with the Wall Street Crash and continued through the early 1930s. During the 1920s, while business prospered in the United States, farmers did not. In Germany hyperinflation took hold and the country (until US banks came to the rescue by providing huge loans) had trouble paying the vast reparations it had been ordered to make after World War I. After share prices plunged on Wall Street in 1929, the US banks began to call in their foreign loans. They had also loaned money to many people who as a result of the Crash could not repay it. Meanwhile, those who had money on deposit at the bank began to withdraw it. Without enough money to pay depositors, many banks collapsed. A shortage of cash meant that there was less money to invest in industry and less money to be spent on industrial and farm products. By 1932 most banks in the United States were closed. The slump led to massive unemployment: 14 million in the United States. There are many areas of the book that shows how the Great Depression has taken its toll on the characters. It shows this when Lennie wants ketchup for his beans. "There's enough beans for four men," George said. Lennie watched him from over the fire. He said patiently, "I like 'em with ketchup." "Well we ain't got any," George exploded. Another example of Depression and unhappiness is when Candy's dog gets shot. ...read more.


This also shows that he is very strict. He suspects George is taking Lennie's pay. Then he suspects something else that he doesn't specify; he feels George is cheating somehow, "what you sellin?" He suspects this because men don't usually travel together. This could be a fear of homosexuality, or the appearance of it, which motivates most men to keep a distance from each other. It makes a lonely society where men are stereotyped, expected to be strong, quiet, and independent. Stereotypes are found throughout the novel, and this shows that society really believes in stereotypes, and uses them, which causes many real problems in society. George and Lennie both wear denim jacket and denim jeans. The other workers wear this too. This was what workers wore in America during the 1930's. The boss and Curley wear much nicer and more expensive clothes. This shows that they are more important than George, Lennie and the other workers. When they speak they use American slang, such as when they say; "you scared the b'jesus outa me!" The workers are allowed to speak freely and act freely. This shows that they are just wandering workers with no real security. George and Lennie hardly own anything at all; they only own things such as soap, razors, talcum-powder and playing cards. They own no luxurious belongings. This shows that the 1930's were hard times when not many people could afford luxurious items. George and Lennie have a dream that one-day they will have enough money saved up to be able to buy their own house, with acres of land. They will have a cow and some pigs. "An' live off the fatta the lan'." They believe that they will have a big vegetable patch and a rabbit hutch and chickens. This implies that Lennie and George are very hopeful characters although their dreams are more likely to happen than most other characters. ...read more.


He is always nasty to them and he does not care what they think. Crooks also does not get along with the other workers. This is because he is black and is excluded from the things that everyone else does. Curley purposely picks on Lennie because of his size. This shows a lot of prejudice. Curley is a boxer, and a fighter. He likes to fight, especially because he is small, and wants to prove that he is tough. He is also the boss' son. Lennie is unbelievably strong, and though he has the mind of a child, he could tear Curley to pieces. This makes Curley scared of him. Curley's wife also shows some prejudice, for example when they are all in Crook's room: "-Sat'iday night. Ever'body out doin' som'pin. Ever'body! An' what am I doin'? Standin' here talking to a bunch of bindle stiffs - a nigger an' a dum-dum and a lousy ol' sheep - an' likin' it because they aint nobody else.' There is a lot of prejudice in this speech by Curley's wife. The story is based on the characters living in 1930's America and you can see this by all the depression and unhappiness there is. It also shows that the characters live in a 1930's America because of their jobs. Crooks is an intelligent person and should have a better job. Instead he just works on a ranch getting paid a poor salary. Curley could become a boxer but as it is during the depression he works on a ranch. More proof that it is the time of the depression is shown by the fact that some of them have dreams where they dream about something better. George and Lennie have a dream that they will one day own their own house. Curley's wife has a dream that she will become a movie star. Lennie and Curley fighting shows that it was a time of depression, and also the language that they use such as 'Nigger' and 'Dum-dum,' was common talk of the time. ?? ?? ?? ?? Joe Fairman Page 1 ...read more.

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