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The ranch in 'Of Mice and Men' is a very hostile environment

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Introduction

The ranch in 'Of Mice and Men' is a very hostile environment. What do we learn about life during the Great Depression from John Steinbeck's novel? In this essay I aim to describe how life was like on a ranch during the great depression in John Steinbeck's novel 'Of Mice and Men'. Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902 in Salinas, California. This is where the book is set, in the Salinas valley. The books exact location is in Soledad near the Salinas Valley. From research I found out that Steinbeck chose the title 'Of Mice and Men' because of a poem which inspired him by Robert Burns. Steinbeck wrote 'Of Mice and Men' hoping that future generations would realise the difficulties millions of Americans like himself were facing. The great depression was the cause of all these difficulties. It all started because of the Wall Street crash (American stock exchange), this made many businesses go bankrupt and were forced to close down. Many banks also became bankrupt losing everyone's savings, so people were left with no money. Over 15 million Americans became jobless during the great depression and many were left homeless because they could not afford to keep the payments of the houses they had rented out. ...read more.

Middle

He had to sleep in "...a little shed that leaned off the wall of the barn" away from the bunkhouse where the other men slept. Crooks was also treated badly. "The boss gives him hell when he's mad", Whenever the boss was mad Crooks was the one that would be blamed and was given hell for it. As well as the racism, there was also the issue of sexism towards the women who were on the ranch. If a woman was seen just talking to a man, it was thought she was flirting with him. A woman would be in a male dominated environment on the ranch and there would be few other women there to socialise with. Women could not get jobs like men, so most women had to become prostitutes and work in whore houses to earn money. Curley's wife suffered from sexism in the book. She was always called a "tart" or a "tramp" and a "loo loo", because when she talked to other men, it sounded like she was flirting with them. Loneliness was the biggest issue on any ranch. This was mainly due to the men not making friends with each other. ...read more.

Conclusion

"I get lonely...You can talk to people, but I can't talk to anyone except Curley...How'd you like not to talk to anybody", When Curley's wife confides with Lennie about how lonely she is because there was no other women for her to socialise with. Life on the ranch was also unpleasant because of the stressful conditions that the ranch hands had to go through. The ranch hands worked 6 day long weeks and had to work 11 hours a day in Steinbeck's book. Life was stressful for a few conditions of being lonely, being away from family and having to move from place to place to try and find work. From reading Steinbeck's book 'Of Mice and Men', I have learnt a lot about how life was like during the great depression. I have also learnt how hard life was on the ranch and what caused the difficulties. 'Of Mice and Men' has been an interesting read and it is best book I have read from the period of time when this book was written in. I now understand why the depression had such a big effect on the quality of life in America and why life on the ranch was a hostile environment. ?? ?? ?? ?? By Jasraj Panesar ...read more.

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