Of Mice and Men

The Great Depression, The American Dream, and John Steinbeck

The Great Depression

From the years of 1929-1939, the Wall Street stock market crashed and banks everywhere were failing. Consumer spending and investment dropped, which caused steep declines in industrial output and rising levels of unemployment as failing companies laid off workers. On October 24th, 1929, investors began dumping a record 12.9 million shares. Five days after, known as "Black Tuesday", roughly 16 million shares were traded. By 1933, 13-15 million Americans were unemployed and nearly half of the country's banks had failed.


^Source. There is a video explaining how FDR helped us through this financial crisis and how America overcame this.

When Japan attack Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, it led to America declaring war. This expanded industrial production, as well as widespread conscription beginning in 1942, reduced the unemployment rate to below its pre-Depression level. In 1935, Congress passed the Social Security Act, which provided Americans with unemployment for disabilities and pensions for old age. America was slowly coming out of the hard financial state, and becoming a great nation like it was before.

The American Dream

The American Dream is a national ethos for the United States. It's basically a set of ideals in which freedom includes the chances to have prosperity and success, and an upward social status for family and children, which can be attained through hard work in a society with seldom barriers. This applies to every citizen, saying that everyone deserves an opportunity to achieve success through determination and giving effort. Found in the Declaration of Independence, it states "all men are created equal" with the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness".

Not only does The Dream stand for success through hard work, but it also includes both personal components and a global vision. Furthermore, it encompasses the opportunity for one's children to grow up and get a good education and career without anything blocking them from pursuing it. It gives the opportunity to make individual choices without restrictions that limited people according to their class, religion, race, et cetera.


John Steinbeck

Most famous for one of his books Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck was a notorious author for many different books, novels, and short stories. His works normally explored the themes of fate and injustice, usually applying the concept to an everyday protagonist. His first major success was Tortilla Flat and it pertains a group of homeless young men in Monterey after WWI just before the US prohibition. Of Mice and Men was a drama about the dreams of a pair of migrant agricultural laborers in California. Steinbeck was presented with the 1962 Nobel Prize.

John Steinbeck got his passion for writing within his family. His father was a treasurer at Monterey County and his mother was a former school teacher, which shared Steinbeck's passion for reading and writing. When he wasn't writing, he would spend his summers working on nearby ranches and later with migrant workers on sugar beet farms. While working there, he realized the darker side of human nature, to which the idea inspired Steinbeck to write Of Mice and Men. It's safe to say that Steinbeck typically wrote about his rather harsh experiences, which they were manipulated into a story.