Choose two characters from the novel 'Of Mice and Men' who illustrate what life was like in America in the 1930's

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Choose two characters from the novel ‘Of Mice and Men’ who illustrate what life was like in America in the 1930’s

Laura Pottle.

1st draft

America in the 1930’s was a class-based society where women had no choice. The Wall Street Crash in 1929 meant the ‘Great Depression’ was occurring, people living in poverty because of this but most would travel round to find work. Racism was still a critical problem in this time so this was affecting many lives, only white people could get a decent job, if a black person could it would be living in the same conditions as slaves, even though slavery was abolished in 1865- over 60 years before.

 Crooks is the stable buck and is black, he is a clever but lonely man who just wants some companionship. Curley’s wife is seen as a ‘tart’, we see that she is also lonely and very misunderstood.

  In the novel, even though Steinbeck had made the characters an isolated group, they all represent different sides of the society, this allows him to criticise what he sees as problems.

Slavery started in America in the 15th century, thousands of slaves arrived looking for a better way of life than what they had left, but infact their ‘new lives’ were worse. Slavery meant big business in America. In the north most Negroes were free but in the south it was the way of life. Slaves were employed as either field workers; they worked long hours, lived in huts and slept on the floor. Then there were the house workers who would cook, clean, run the masters house and bring up the children, they lived a more comfortable life, but caused mistrust between the two. Sometimes a way to solve this was to split up families, selling the children.

 Slave revolt was common and in 1831 people started to understand the need to abolish slavery, in 1833 it became more widespread but Lincoln and the civil war offered more help to the black society. Finally in 1865 slavery was abolished – “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist in the United States.”

  Crooks was not a slave but was still a victim of racial prejudice. He is lonely and very clever, ‘He reads a lot. Got books I his room’, and we see that he is aware of his rights, ‘a tattered dictionary and a mauled copy of the California Civil code for 1905-98’ this in a way is worse as he knows that he could have a better life. He loves company but hides it, as he is sure this was the best his life would get. The men know that they can be racist towards him and get away with it; this is made clear when George asks ‘give the stable-buck hell?’  Asking why it’s ok, he is given the simple answer from candy that it’s fine because he is a ‘nigger.’  

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  Crooks was still very much treated as a slave. The men tell the stories of how they make him fight for a use of entertainment but ‘on the count of the niggers got a crooked back, Smitty can’t use his feet’ the men think its fine beating Crooks up and that they’re being kind.

 The group do not realise that Crooks is scared of them and so isolates himself from everyone and everything going on around him – ‘he kept his distance and demanded everyone else kept theirs’ but by doing this he had to live alone in the ...

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