Of Mice and Men
Context Infographic by Joey Merkel
The Great Depression
Consumer confidence had vanished in industry, and demand dramatically slowed down. The minority who still had their jobs had a massive hit to their wages, and their buying power decreased. Because of the gold standard, in which all money adhered to, the Depression spread throughout the world. Industry was never the same until Franklin D. Roosevelt decided to ally against the axis powers at the start of World War II, and industry started up again to produce defense. Industry was in full swing again by 1942 with the Pearl Harbor bombing, causing America to go to war.
The American Dream
This American way inspired a mass amount of immigrants looking for material wealth, and almost expecting it once they migrated to America. However, nothing was promised, to the disapproval of immigrants, and the American Dream remained a dream that some people couldn't get to. For more modest people, the American dream could've been happiness or equality by any stretch, but the motivation behind long hours and big wages was mostly happiness from wealth and material goods.
Steinbeck's focus on writing was on social justice and the human condition and life in America in the early to mid 1900's, generally in California. He also focused on being a farmer and trying to reach The American Dream. In his book, The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck focuses on the changes farmers face when industry starts setting in and they start to feel unneeded for all the work and time the farmers have put into their job. They must move across the country where their work is needed just to keep their livings.
John Steinbeck: http://www.steinbeck.org/pages/john-steinbeck-biography