• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What does John Stienbeck's Of Mice and Men tell us about life in America in the 1930s

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Jayne Stupple What does John Stienbeck's Of Mice and Men tell us about life in America in the 1930s? John Steinbeck's novels can all be classified as social novels dealing with the economic problems of rural labour in America during the 1920s and 30s. Steinbeck uses setting, theme, characterisation, and a modernist simple style to portray a 1930s American society, which was isolating, alienating and prejudiced His frequent topics were the plight of the misfits, (the character of Lennie in the novel) the homeless and the migrant farm workers. The countryside described in the opening chapter of the novel and the ranch itself would have been familiar to John Stienkbeck. The imagery he uses gives us a sense of empty landscapes, long well trod roads. " beaten hard by tramps who come wearily down from the highway". Already Steinbeck is introducing us to the lonely and isolated life the workers encountered. They would often move from one farm to another looking for work. His use of "tramp" suggests that the farm workers were often alienated and looked upon with prejudice in a society that regarded social standing by wealth and possessions. ...read more.

Middle

Steinbeck has interwoven the idea from the very beginning of the novel. The dead mouse Lennie had in his pocket, the death of Candy's dog, and the accidental killing of the puppy. All these incidents pre-figure the tragedy in the climax of the novel. Lennie, childlike and "As strong as a bull," will ultimately be the reason their dream will fail Steinbeck makes us aware of the prejudice that would have been common during this period. Through Crooks we learn of how the black ranch- hand was treated. Steinbeck uses dialogue "well, you keep your place then, Nigger. I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain't funny." The irony here is that this was said by Curly's wife. Through her character Steinbeck shows us was a victim of another kind of prejudice; sexism. "Jesus, what a tramp" "so that's what Curly picks for a wife" Jayne Stupple (George remarks after meeting her.) Steinbeck doesn't even give her a name. We later see, she too is isolated and alienated. ...read more.

Conclusion

Stienbeck uses these two characters to show us that they are both aware that Jayne Stupple without each other they would be just like the others, alone in a very dysfunctional society. When Crooks teases Lennie that George may not be coming back from town. Lennie said miserably "George wun't go away and leave me. I know George wun't do that" Although Lennie cannot understand the concept of being alone he shows some understanding. The end of the only good friendship in the book compounds the tragedy of Lennie's death. In the closing chapter of the book Steinbeck uses his skill with imagery well. We are back to the same peaceful spot at the river the story began. We understand George has no other choice but to kill his friend. He would not want him to suffer at the hands of Curly and the farm hands, even though he knows with the death of Lennie their dream will die with him. Steinbeck makes it clear in his novel that the glittering, moneyed America of the 1920s, which for example the American modernist F.Scott. Fitzgerald portrayed in the novel "The Great Gatsby," has utterly vanished to be replaced with a society of depression, loneliness and alienation. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE John Steinbeck section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE John Steinbeck essays

  1. The Great Depression of the 1930's was the hardest of hard times for millions ...

    Lennie idolises George; "Lennie who had been watching, imitated George exactly. He pushed himself back, drew up his knees, embraced them, looked over to George to see whether he had it just right. He pulled his hat down a little more over his eyes, the way George's hat was."

  2. How does John Steinbeck use George as a symbol of good friendship in ...

    He cried. "Why do you got to get killed? you ain't so little as mice." (Steinbeck:85) Lennie, scared of getting in trouble from George tries to hide the pup under some hay and thinks of what to tell George, "I'll tell George I found it dead."

  1. How does life on the ranch reflect the social issues of 1930's America

    In the book, Carlson mentions the dog as useless. By this, we can see how the fittest ruled the society and the weakest didn't have a chance to put forth his opinion. Unfortunately, this wasn't the only problem that ruled in the society.

  2. 'How does the novel Of Mice And Men reflect life in the 1930s'

    him by saying suppose George didn't ever come back from town, because then he would be on his own like Crooks. But Lennie didn't her the suppose at the beginning of the sentence and got very angry towards Crooks and got very worried.

  1. Explore John Steinbeck's presentation in Of Mice and Men of the culture and experience ...

    their day with each other, not only is there a lack of privacy, but none of the dignity that grown adult men should have. Inside the 'bunk house' there was a 'nailed apple box... so that it made two shelves' above the bunks, this allowed the men to keep their

  2. Of Mice and Men is set in the 1930's, this is important as during ...

    The contrast between George and Lennie, "walked his opposite", creates atmosphere, because with an aspect of humour, we get the feeling that in this case, opposites attract, and so the bond can be illustrates through this. This is important for atmosphere because in order to understand the story, and the

  1. Compare the Opening and Closing Scenes

    George never wants Lennie to be hurt, but in the end he realizes that he is out of options to protect Lennie, the death of Lennie is inevitable--unavoidable. In order to protect Lennie from suffering tortures in a painful death.

  2. Lennie Small is the central character in the novel, 'Of Mice and Men'. The ...

    Lennie is dependent on George in both body and mind. George has virtually adopted him after Aunt Clara died. Lennie couldn't survive on his own. He has none of the independence or practical skills of most adults. He wouldn't be able to sort out food and shelter for himself.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work