Of Mice And Men

Context

The great depretion

The great depression was a ten year period in american history (1929-39) of economic despair. At its worst, about 15 million american citizens where unemployed and almost half of the banks failed. by 1932 us manufacture decreased by over 50% of what is was in the year 1929. During this time the value of the us dollar also decreased, as the prices for goods and services increased, adding to the problem of unemployment.

The depression was caused by the crash in the stock market in October of 1929. Prices of shares began to increase and when they got to a certain point, they where sold in great quantities, causing prices to lower. within the next five days, most of the remaining stock where sold out of the fear that the prices would lower even more, flooding the market and causing investors to panic and banks that held shares would

no longer be able to function. This led to less spending and therefore less need for production, only lowering the employment rate among citizens.

Read more at:

http://www.history.com/topics/great-depression

http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/depression/about.htm

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John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck, in his novels, explored the themes of the human condition as well as the inclusion of social and political commentary. Steinbeck’s novels generally dealt with the social and economic issues of rural America. An underlying theme common to many of John Steinbeck’s literary works is friendship. Steinbeck wrote of the development of friendship and the moral compromises it can create. In addition, themes common to relations include that of loneliness, outcasts, happiness through denial, and belonging. The compromise of man and nature is prominently featured in many of Steinbeck’s works. The compromise between man and nature is developed as nature’s indifference to man and man’s attempts to innovate a compromise. A prominent theme in many of Steinbeck’s most famous works, the American dream is explored and the idea of identity through land ownership as destiny. John Steinbeck wrote of migrants and the displaced with the focus of social justice. Steinbeck wrote of the migrants to show the immorality in the unfair judgement of them by society. In these instances, Steinbeck wrote to display the nobility of the impoverished in their pursuit of the American dream. Additionally, Steinbeck wrote of political themes such as disenfranchisement, rebellion, and the idea of integrity versus corruption.

John Steinbeck was an accomplished American author recipient to many awards and acclaim for his novels and writing. In his career as an author, John Steinbeck published twenty-seven books including sixteen novels. Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for realistic and imaginative writings in his works of the economic and social issues of rural America. Steinbeck’s most famous work, The Grapes of Wrath received acclaim for his depiction of the migration of disenfranchised farmers. Other famous works of Steinbeck such as Of Mice and Men, explored loneliness and the bond of friendship between two ranchers. Power and control is explored in the novel In Dubious Battle. Other novels of Steinbeck concurrent with his main themes include Cannery Row, East of Eden, and A Long Valley. Steinbeck’s novel, A Winter of Our Discontent, focuses on the themes of the selfishness, growing greed, and immorality of the time. In addition to the Nobel Prize, Steinbeck received the Pulitzer Prize in fiction and National Book Award for his work of The Grapes of Wrath. In addition to sixteen novels, Steinbeck wrote six works of nonfiction and five collections of short stories.


Read more at:

http://faculty.georgetown.edu/bassr/heath/syllabuild/iguide/steinbec.html

http://www.enotes.com/homework-help/what-common-themes-used-john-steinbecks-

novels-290589

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The American Dream

The American dream is an ethos of life in the United States set upon the ideals of democracy, rights, freedom, opportunity, and equality. Established in the Declaration of Independence, the three basic rights to Americans of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness furthers the ideals of betterment and fulfillment through the American dream. Through the guarantee of freedom in life in the United States, the opportunity for prosperity and success is included and present for all. The equal opportunity to achieve success through hard work, determination, and initiative in a society with few barriers is strongly idealized in the American dream. In the society idealized in the American dream, the opportunity is to each based on achievement and ability regardless to the individual’s circumstance of birth or social class. An individual is to make their own choices without regard to any prior restrictions such as class, religion, race, or ethnicity. The standard of achievement through the American dream based on hard work and fulfillment varies with an individual’s aspirations and the ideals of the time. The result of betterment through the American dream has been interpreted as materialistic, fulfillment being property or vehicle ownership. Other interpretations of fulfillment through the American dream include upward social mobility for family, good education for children, and retirement. Regardless of interpretation of fulfillment through the American dream, the ideals stand of equal opportunity of achievement and prosperity through hard work in a society with few barriers.

The ideal of the American dream originated from the beliefs and mystique of frontier life. In 1774, the Royal Governor of Virginia noted to imagine the lands further than those already settled upon better and more fruitful. The ideal of frontier life and the equal opportunity to achievement and prosperity through hard work is based heavily in the ideals of the American dream. Furthering the ideal of American life established previously, it was stated in the Declaration of Independence that all had the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Through these rights, the ideal of fulfillment and betterment through hard work and without unfair limitations was established to all of American life and furthered the American dream. In 1848, many well-educated Germans fled the failed revolution in Germany to pursue the ideals present in American life. American life appealed to the immigrants in the political freedoms it presented. The German immigrants also welcomed the lack of an aristocratic society which often determined the limit to one’s individual aspirations. Additionally, the migrants were drawn to other ideals of the American dream such as the rich and poor stand on the same footing in the opportunities of society. The idea of the American dream was popularized in the 1931 book Epic of America by historian James Truslow Adams. In his book, Adams furthered and defined the opportunities of the American dream in the ideal that individuals were able to grow to the fullest development as a human without unfair restrictions. Adams stated that social order benefiting classes rather than all individuals was not present in the ideal of the American dream and all were equally opportune to prosperity and fulfillment through hard work and initiative.


Read more at:

http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/lessons/american-dream/students/thedream.htmlhttp://useconomy.about.com/od/grossdomesticproduct/a/What-Is-The-American-Dream.htm

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Mini Bio: John Steinbeck