Of Mice and Men

By: Gwen Litwak

The Great Depression

The Great Depression was the largest economic crisis in the Western World, lasting from 1929 to 1939. The stock market crash of October 1929 sent Wall Street into a panic, and over the years following, consumer investment and spending dropped, thus causing the increase of unemployment and decline of industrial output. By 1930, 4 million people looking for work, could not find any. A year later, over 6 million people were unemployed.


Opposing the popular belief that World War II ended the Great Depression, the sharp reduction in spending, taxing and regulation at the end of the war ended economic crisis. It is true that unemployment rates did lower at the start of the war, but that was only because of the sending of millions of young men to fight, and die, in the war, making the statistics inaccurate. After the war was over, we could see there were many better ways of creating more jobs and reducing unemployment.

The American Dream

James Truslow Adams, in his book The Epic of America, stated that the American dream is "that 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." His words describe the want that Americans have to achieve happiness, whatever it may be and wherever it may lead, it is the idea that runs through the heads of every person.


The American Dream is different for everyone. But, it is the ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to reach success. In a time of such loss and hopelessness, the American Dream gave hope to those who needed it most. It inspired many to go out to the west to live life as a farmer, hoping to thrive off of selling their own goods. The American Dream created inspiration for the people of America to fix the current economic status.

John Steinbeck

He was born on February 27th,1902 in Salinas California, which would be the setting of many of his books. John Steinbeck dropped out of college to work in manual laborer before becoming a successful writer. He wrote and published over 27 books before his death on December 20th, 1968, at the age of 66.


His first critical success sold 26,000 copies during its first year, in 1935, the middle of the Great Depression. His next big success was Of Mice and Men, published in 1937, was a best seller immediately. His broadway adaptation won him the New York Drama Critic's Circle Award. The reason for John Steinbeck's great success was what he wrote was realistic and relatable for the people during the era of the Great Depression. It gave them a sense of hope and they found sentimental value in the friendship of the characters, making up for the things that they didn't have.

Mini Bio: John Steinbeck