How Does Steinbeck Present The Great Depression In Of Mice And Men

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A setting of vital importance in the novel ‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck is the Great Depression of the nineteen thirties. It describes the story of two companions working on a ranch in California. John Steinbeck, was born and raised in rural California near where the story is set and when he was young he worked on a ranch enabling him to draw on his own experiences of ranch life and the types of people that worked on ranches. All the characters in the story have many features common to people who lived during the Depression further improving the believability of the characters.

Throughout the novel, Steinbeck portrays the prevalent theme of loneliness through the Great Depression, along with the pervasive toll that it takes, through the depth of his characterization. A good example of this was the scene where George and Lennie talk to the ranch boss about getting a job. It was so unusual to find two people sticking together that the boss initially thought George was taking Lennie’s wages. The boss would only believe that they were together when George was said to him that he and Lennie were cousins. The
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There are many characters in the story who show this trait. The obvious ones are George, Lennie and Candy who all dream of owning a place of their own. Another big dreamer in the story, is Curley’s wife, who dreams of being a Hollywood star. There are many other dreams in the novel such as Crooks dreaming to escape a racist world and the other ranchers escaping the boring, everyday life on the ranch. The dreams of these characters, allow one to escape a drab reality, even though in reality the dream can never be realized. The fragility of dreams is significant to the Great Depression. The idea of dreams shown through the Great Depression helps us conceive George, Lennie, Candy and Curley’s wife, their dreams and how they end in a tragic breakdown of
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