Of Mice and Men:Background Info

The Great Depression, The American Dream, and John Steinbeck

The Great Depression

The Great Depression was a horrific economic time period from the years 1929 to 1939 that caused many families and businesses worldwide to suffer. Even today, it was the longest, and worst Western industrial economic downfall in American history. Originated in the United States, the Depression started due to a fall in stock prices on Sept. 4th, 1929. As numerous unsold items began to pile on top of each other and only grow, it quickly transformed into crashing the stock market on October 29th, 1929, otherwise known as "Black Thursday". In other words, due to the fact that not enough income was being brought in by investors in companies, investors began to dump shares all at once. The nickname "Black Thursday" regards the overwhelming 12.9 million shares that were traded on October 29th. This was an overall sweeping record of dropped sales in the United States. This swept panic across Wall Street and the country, not to mention that 16 million more shares were traded only five days later, better known as "Black Tuesday". Millions of these shares were later determined worthless and many investors were wiped free of money.

Furthermore, without investments and purchasing of goods, companies began to slow down production and fire workers that were no longer needed. The lucky few workers that had kept there jobs suffered from wages being decreased. Overall, many families and people across the nation suffered in debt and exhaustion during this time period.


The American Dream

In the wise words of James Truslow Adams, he defined the American Dream,"life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement, regardless of social class or circumstances of birth". Originated in The Declaration of Independence, The American Dream is essentially a belief of The United States that all men are created equal and that anyone could go from "rags to riches" in America with hard word and determination. Furthermore, people believed that moving or traveling to America would ensure a better lifestyle of happiness and unlimited liberties.

In the mid to late 1900s, word of the American dream began to spread nationwide and many immigrants moved to The United States in hopes that this dream could become their reality. However, many people had different views on the overall concept of the American Dream. For example, many people determined this "dream" as a pursuit of working really hard, gaining money, and buying luxuries such as a large house or fancy car but have less time to enjoy it all because they are working so much. Others argue that the American Dream does not account for the poor who have to work up to two separate jobs to stay afloat and support their families. Finally, most immigrants focused more on the less stressful happiness aspect rather than the financial way of life.

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John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck was a western born author of twenty-seven books that included his wildly popular novels,Tortilla Flat, Cannery Row, Of Mice and Men, and The Red Pony, only to name a few. He also was the winner of the Nobel Literature Prize in 1962 which made him and his writing even more popular. Steinbeck, born and raised on the west coast, loved to revolve his works around western territory, usually in southern and central California. He often wrote about fate and destiny in his works as well as certain events in United States history or stories about himself that he could relate to.

Although John had been popular before, the ultimate peak of his success lied in his literary novel, Tortilla Flat. This story was about the adventures of a group of relatively homeless young men in California post World War 2. They were compared and portrayed as to mythical knights on a journey that revolved around wine, crazy problems, and lust. Consumers all over the nation ate his book up and loved every minute of it. His career only grew from there! Later on, he began to write and publish his novel, The Grapes of Wrath, and many other books that students and adults still read today, about 75 years later!

Works Cited

Works Cited

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“The Grapes of Wrath.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia, n.d. Web. 5 Jan. 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Grapes_of_Wrath>.

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“The Great Depression Can Teach Us about Marketing.” Huffington Post. HuffPost Business, n.d. Web. 5 Jan. 2016. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/debra-carpenter/what-the-great-depression_1_b_8116472.html>.

“John Steinbeck.” Biography. A&E Television Network, n.d. Web. 5 Jan. 2016. <http://www.biography.com/people/john-steinbeck-9493358>.

“John Steinbeck.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia, n.d. Web. 5 Jan. 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Steinbeck>.

“Tortilla Flat.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia, n.d. Web. 5 Jan. 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tortilla_Flat>.

“Warnings of the Great Depression in ‘The Business Week.’” Bloomsberg Buisness. Bloomsberg L.P, n.d. Web. 4 Jan. 2016. <http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2013-02-05/warnings-of-the-great-depression-in-the-business-week>.

“What Is the American Dream?” America.day. Humankind’s Second Chance, n.d. Web. 5 Jan. 2016. <http://america.day-dreamer.de/dream.htm>.