Events and Concepts

Used to understand the novel Of Mice and Men

Created By: Alex Gonsalves

The Great Depression

The Great Depression, which lasted from 1929-1939, was the longest lasting economical downfall in the history of the Western world. The event began shortly after the crash of the stock markets in October of 1929. The stock market crash made Wall Street panic and wiped out millions of investors. Consumer spending and investment declined quickly over the next couple of years, causing less industrial output and unemployment levels rising as many of the companies laid off employees. When the Great Depression had hit its lowest point in 1933, 13 to 15 million Americans were unemployed and almost half of the country’s banks had failed. Even though at the time President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, helped lessen the effects of the Great Depression, the economy wouldn’t turn completely around until 1939.


A program that aided in the recovery from the Great Depression was the Tennessee Valley Authority, or TVA. To help, they built dams and hydroelectric projects to control flooding and provide electric power to the poor town. The Works Project Administration was a permanent jobs program that employed over 8.5 million people between the years of 1935-1943. The issue was finally resolved when Congress passed the Social Security Act. This act provided Americans with unemployment, disability, and pensions for old age.

The American Dream

In The Epic of America, written by James Truslow Adam’s, he defines the American Dream as “dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.” As shown in the photos below, citizens of the United States interpret the American Dream in different ways, depending on their age and what their goals in life are. Some of the interpretations are wealth, career success, non-material values, or just simply overall happiness. Given the variety of goals, the American Dream can not be summed up into one general statement or definition. It's more of a personal definition, one based off of your goals.

John Steinbeck

Some of John Steinbeck’s biggest literary works are novels such as To A God Unknown, The Long Valley, Of Mice and Men, In Dubious Battle, The Grapes of Wrath, Sea of Cortez, Cannery Row, East of Eden, A Russian Journal, The Winter of Our Discontent, and Travels With Charley. John Steinbeck used themes such as friendship and rebellion throughout these books. Perhaps that is what makes his books so well written and "relatable" to other people.

For example, in Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck uses themes such as friendship, loneliness, and being an outcast. To some people, this book might seem appealing to them if they relate to any of the themes.


John Steinbeck had used these themes to make his writing stand out and emphasize certain points that he was trying to show. Given the fact that his writing pieces are still read throughout the world today, I think putting all of his effort into his books was worth it.