English Coursework - Diverse Cultures

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Milica Maksimovic                                    

Diverse Cultures


The Great Depression was a worldwide economic breakdown. It was the largest and most important economic depression in modern history, it began in the United States on Black Tuesday with the Wall Street crash of October 1929 and rapidly spread worldwide. It lasted about a decade, ending in the early 1940s.

During this decade many people were living in poverty, in need of food and shelter. Banks, stores, and factories were closed and left millions of people jobless and without any money. Many had to rely on charity and the government to stay alive. This is why many men had to leave their families in search of jobs. Many men like George and Lennie went to California because there were a lot of jobs for them to do on ranches.

From the opening chapter we learn the George and Lennie are the typical itinerant workers. They have just got fired from one job and are travelling to go another one. George shows his frustration of having to move constantly to find work. He accuses Lennie of keeping him ’shovin’ all over the country all the time.’ This shows how hard it was to keep moving around and having no home to go to fell safe. They have to sleep outside in the cold with no protection.

Steinbeck shows us how life during the depression was hard. The workers had no real luxury’s they could enjoy, when George and Lennie were eating beans and Lennie says ‘I like ‘em with ketchup’ George replies ‘whatever we ain’t got, that’s what you want.’ Ketchup is being shown as a symbol of luxury that they don’t have. All of their material possessions were carried in a bindle. This shows how little they had, they were homeless and everything they own could fit in a little blanket.

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From chapter 1 we also learn that the men who work on the ranches are ‘the loneliest guys in the world.’ They have no family, the men had to leave them behind in search of work, they have no home to go to. They go to ranches, work, get paid then ‘blow all their stake’ on alcohol and visit cathouses. But George and Lennie are different because they have each other. Their friendship is important because they have some one who is there for them, who cares about them unlike the other guys on the ranch who could go ...

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