Of Mice and Men and the Great Depression

1661 WordsJul 8, 20187 Pages
The 1930s in American history was an interesting period that merges strife with everlasting hope. John Steinbeck's literature takes a snapshot of this time with realistic circumstances appropriate for the time. Of Mice and Men reflects the Great Depression Era by presenting the storyline in the agricultural setting of 1930s California, describing the hardships of migrant field workers, and mentioning the dreams and goals of various characters. The United States felt the reverberating effects of their failing economy during the 1930s. The decade of the 1920s was a period of a newfound “freedom” in which urban populations discovered leisurely activities, women proved their power and equal rights with the emergence of flappers, and the…show more content…
Curley feels a sense of authority simply by being the field boss’s son. However, he fears the workers that were larger and stronger than him. “Curley’s like a lot of little guys. He hates big guys…Kind of like he’s mad at ‘em because he ain’t a big guy” (Steinbeck 26). This explains the tension between Lennie and Curley that eventually swelled into a fight between them. Slim is an exception to the leading workers on the ranch; unlike the others, he is understanding and merciful, as in when he let Lennie carry his dog’s puppies and when his hands were shaking while Candy’s dog was put down by another worker. He has a good reputation among the workers because “Slim’s opinions were law” (Steinbeck 45). The respect he received and his easygoing nature allows George to befriend him at the end of the novel. (Hearle) (Shillinglaw) (Shindo) (Steinbeck) During the Great Depression, survival was mandatory in order to get through the hardships at the time. Because of the frequent movement between each job and the fact that migrant workers had no families or wives to care for, there was a lack of community and family within each ranch. Therefore, the mentality of “every man for himself” was set in the mind of every migrant worker. George’s and Lennie’s companionship is looked as unusual by the other workers since most traveled alone, especially since Lennie and George are complete opposites both physically and mentally. When questioned why they travel
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