Of Mice and Men Flyer

By: David Scavuzzo

The Great Depression

The Great Depression began with the stock market crash of 1929. The crash created a financial panic on Wall Street, and made many investors broke. Consumer spending and investment dropped over the next few years, which led to a decrease in industrial output and a sharp increase in unemployment. At the peak of the Depression in 1933, around 13-15 million Americans were unemployed and half the nation's banks had failed. President Roosevelt helped to lessen the worst effects of the Depression by creating reforms and relief. It took a large increase in industry to help the Allied cause in World War II to turn the economy around.


The crash was caused by stock prices continuing to rise during the usual summer recession, when consumer spending lessens and product productions slows. The prices kept rising, until on October 24, 1929, investors started to sell their stock en masse. This lead to millions of shares becoming worthless and investors going into debt. The Depression spread across the globe due to the gold standard, which linked countries in a fixed currency exchange. This eventually led to the rise of Nazism in Germany, and the Second World War.

The Great Depression: Crash Course US History #33

The American Dream

The American Dream is a set of ideals that are used by people who have come to America to pursue a greater life from which they came. This can include immigrants trying to build a new, happy life for themselves, pioneers moving west in order to live free on the frontier, or somebody trying to become more successful in their career. The American Dream can viewed in many different ways. Some say it is a focus on material prosperity, while other say that it is a focus on living a simple, yet fulfilling life.


The idea of the American Dream actually started with the prospect of the frontier life, as people were trying to live on better land than the land on which they settled. It has evolved to the goal of people gaining prosperity through doing hard work. It also calls for children to receive a good education, and for them to make decisions that aren't affected by their race, class, religion, or ethnicity. The ideal that the U.S. is a land of opportunity majorly affects the American Dream, as it can be the hope of gaining a better life than one had in a different nation.

John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck is an American author who books seem to be inspired by the Great Depression and the American Dream. He is famous for books such as The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, Tortilla Flats, and The Red Pony. His most famous works are Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath, with the latter being considered his masterpiece. His books are centered around the injustices the people face, and how they try to achieve their goals while overcoming them.


The Grapes of Wrath was inspired by the mistreatment of migrant farmers who were traveling to California due to the Dust Bowl (major droughts in the Midwest during the 1930s). The migrants were underpaid because of the abundance of workers, and this led to underemployment and poverty among the migrant workers. They had horrible living arrangements, and many were starving. Steinbeck reported on these issues in The Harvest Gypsies, a series of articles he wrote for the San Francisco News in 1936.