Of Mice and Men Context Assignment

By: Nick Alvarez and Aidan Link

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The Great Depression

On Black Tuesday, October 29 1929, the stock market crashed, causing the Great Depression. Consumer spending and investment dropped resulting in declines in industrial output and increases in laid off workers. Almost 15 million citizens were unemployed and were wandering the streets. In the Mid West the citizens were struggling to survive. Constant dust storms swept over the area, making it impossible to farm. This destruction was called the Dust Bowl. Citizens everywhere were struggling to survive. This dark time would last until the 1940s.


America began to recover in the 1930s when President Franklin D. Roosevelt helped boost the economy. Citizens began to get out of poverty. Acts were passed to stabilize the economy, including the Emergency Banking relief Act, which declared a four day banking holiday. Finally in 1939 American industry turned into high gear for World War II

The American Dream

America's dream is a set of ideals in which freedom prevails. The freedom of opportunity for prosperity and success, the freedom for our rights and liberties, and for equality to be shown through the mindset of the US citizens. A dream in which there are no barriers, no segregation or discrimination. The american dream is to become a "city upon a hill" - John Winthrop, a country that is looked up upon as a model. As time pasts, the American dream has been interpreted differently. Some believe that the American Dream was for the settlers to live a good, rich life. Now people believe that it is easier to achieve because of the technological advances. The American Dream is something that lives in about 50% of all Americans.


In The definition of the American Dream by James Truslow Adamsin, "life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement". The American Dream is rooted in the Declaration of Independence through the words of "{that} all men are created equal with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness".

MKTO - American Dream

John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck was born in Salinas California in the year of 1902. Growing up Steinbeck showed strong signs of being a good writer. He commonly wrote for the school newspaper as well as local magazines of which no one knew about as he would send his pieces to the magazine companies with no identity. Steinbeck later quoted “I used to sit in that little room upstairs and write little stories and little pieces and send them out to magazines under a false name and I never put a return address on them…I wonder what I was thinking of? I was scared to death to get a rejection slip, but more, to get an acceptance.” He attended Stanford university in 1919 hoping his classes would help improve his writing career and continued attending off an on until 1925 when he left Stanford with no degree.


Steinbeck did not start off very successful writing unpopular stories such as his first “Cup of Gold”. During this time shortly after marrying Carol Henning he wrote to a friend “Financially we are in a mess but ‘spiritually’ we ride the clouds.” Throughout his career Steinbeck’s stories were commonly based off the situations he was in, in his own life. This was shown in 1934 in his short stories “Long Valley” and “The Red Pony” both showed a character coming to a stronger understanding of life and death. During this time both Steinbeck’s parents were ill which inspired the themes of these stories. Steinbeck's most successful stories came in the middle of his career during the Great Depression with popular titles such as “The Grapes of Wrath” and “East of Eden”. John Steinbeck died on December 20th 1986 in his home in New York.


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"A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it," - John Steinbeck