Mini Research

DaiJah Davis

The Great Depression

The Great Depression 1929-39 was the deepest and longest-lasting economic downturn in the history of the Western industrialized world. In the United States, the Great Depression began soon after the stock market crash of October 1929, which sent Wall Street into a panic and wiped out millions of investors. By 1933, when the Great Depression reached its nadir, some 13 to 15 million Americans were unemployed and nearly half of the country’s banks had failed. By 1933, 13 to 15 million Americans were unemployed and nearly half of the country’s banks had failed. This was a really hard time. Many people had lost so much that they could barley afford their bills, let alone any food. Due to that, soup kitchens and bread lines had been created to provide a little relief for that part. By 1930, 4 million Americans looking for work could not find it; that number had risen to 6 million in 1931. Meanwhile, the country’s industrial production had dropped by half. Bread lines, soup kitchens and rising numbers of homeless people became more and more common in America’s towns and cities. Farmers couldn’t afford to harvest their crops, and were forced to leave them rotting in the fields while people elsewhere starved.

Who is John Steinbeck?

He was born in 1902, in Salinas, California, came from a family of moderate means. He worked his way through college at Stanford University but never graduated. His novels can all be classified as social novels dealing with the economic problems of rural labour. After he went o college, he moved to New York City, where he found work as a construction worker and newspaper reporter. He then scurried back to California, where he took a job as a caretaker in Lake Tahoe. It was during this time that he wrote his first novel, Cup of Gold, as well as met and married his first wife, Carol. Over the next decade, with Carol's support and paycheck, Steinbeck continued to pour himself into his writing. After the rough and earthy humour of Tortilla Flat, one of his first novels, he moved on to more serious fiction, often aggressive in its social criticism, in Doublis Battle, which deals with the strikes of the migratory fruit pickers on California plantations.
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Of Mice and Men

The book had been published in 1937, right around the time the world was in the grip of the Great Depression.

In California, there were economic and social problems that increasingly concerned Steinbeck and provided material for three novels about agricultural workers. The novel is actually a dark tale, a parable of men journeying through a world of pitfalls and brutal, inhumane experiences. Their dreams seem all but doomed, obstacles block their ways, happiness appears to be an impossibility, and human handicaps affect their hopes. When the novel begins, we are treated to a forest scene with the sunshine on the pond and the gentle breeze in the willow trees promising that life is good. But soon after, that nature scene is replaced by a human world that contains jealousy, cruelty, loneliness, rootlessness, longing for land, and shattered dreams.

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