Background Research on Mice and Men

By Hannah Boyajieff

The Great Depression

The Great depression, which had started in 1929 and still existed when World War II had begun, was the 20th century's most severe worldwide depression. The disaster was a result of a major stock market crash in the United States, however cities all around the world were affected. In 1933, the United States unemployment level had reached nearly 25%. At one point, the average family income had dropped 35%. Upsets like these caused children to be deprived of a good education, marriages to split up, and many middle class citizens to be left hungry and in need of health care.


Farmers were extremely affected during the great depression. Those who weren't starving, were likely losing their property. The horrible economy resulted in a drastic increase in crime rate, because many unemployed individuals were forced to result to theft of food, clothing, and other everyday needs.


More information on the Great Depression can be found on the following links:

http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/snprelief1.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Depression

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The American Dream

The American Dream is the idea that those who work hard, have opportunity for achievement, regardless of gender, family background, or amount of money they grew up with. For hundreds of years, immigrants from all around the world have been migrating to the US in search for the American Dream. This dream also states that all individuals should have the right to practice whichever religion they choose to believe. The American Dream stems from Thomas Jefferson's words of "all men are created equal". In the 1930's, the American dream suffered incredibly, because children who were part of a suffering family most likely did not receive adequate education, and they to would possibly be suffering when they became adults. Many would argue that our society is moving closer and closer to the American Dream as we progress, however we will never reach it completely until we put our differences aside and come together as a whole.



There are many people who do not have a fair opportunity for success, because many people believe that those of certain backgrounds should not receive as much support as the rest of the population. When Jefferson had written "all men are created equal", what he really meant was "all white men are created equal." Therefore, many years ago, individuals of a different ethnic group than white were not given nearly as much opportunity as Caucasians. And although today's society stresses equal liberties, not all individuals are treated with the same support and have the same chance for success as the rest of the population.


Watch the following you tube video for a further understanding of the American Dream:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yN7TSrkPKEA


For more information on the American Dream can be found on the following links:

http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/lessons/american-dream/students/thedream.html

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John Steinbeck

Some of John Steinbeck's most famous pieces of writing include The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, East of Eden, Cannery Row, Tortilla Flat, and Travels with Charley. During the 1930's Steinbeck suffered from the Great Depression just as much as the average western US citizen, if not more. His marriage had fallen apart, and in addition he was forced to request financial assistance. His financial struggle had a direct influence on his themes of literature.


Steinbeck's novels are considered classics of western literature. Common themes of his are fate, justice, friendship, prejudice, hardship, and the fight against the wealthy. In his writing, he enjoyed displaying the battle of the underdog. The majority of Steinbeck's themes pertain to the American Dream, and take place in central or southern California, because his writing often stems from his memories as a child in California.


More information on Steinbeck can be found on the following links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Steinbeck

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/tip-sheet/article/61688-the-13-best-john-steinbeck-books.html

http://www.steinbeck.org/pages/john-steinbeck-biography

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The American Dream of the 1920s-30s