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Context Of "Of Mice And Men"

2429 words - 10 pages

Context of the novel "Of Mice and Men"John Steinbeck celebrated friendship; it mapped the contours of his life and art. "In every bit of honest writing in the world," he noted in a 1938 journal entry, "...there is a base theme. Try to understand men; if you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and nearly always leads to love. There are shorter means, many of them. There is writing promoting social change, writing punishing injustice, writing in celebration of heroism, but always a base theme. Try to understand each other." These words shaped Steinbeck's career and can be witnessed in his fiction. Steinbeck's greatness as a writer lies in his empathy for common people, their loneliness, joy, anger, and strength, their connection to places and their craving for land. "Of Mice and Men" owes much of its appeal to Steinbeck's ability to orchestrate this complexity within the context of the abiding commitment between two friends."Of Mice and Men" tells us that this is the way things are and that men makes all these plans when in the end, it doesn't work out like that. When reading "Of Mice and Men", we are asked to acknowledge the inevitability of a situation in which two men, each with a particular weakness and need, cling to the margins of an unforgiving world. The novel is about commitment, loneliness, the dispossessed, hope, and loss, drawing its power from the fact that these universal truths are grounded in the realistic context of friendship and a shared dream. It is the energy of that friendship, real but hardly sentimental that changes this richly suggestive and emotional text."Of Mice and Men" is the middle book in Steinbeck's trilogy about agricultural labor in California. Most of his texts like "In Dubious Battle", "The Grapes of Wrath", and "Paradise Lost" are epic responses to the acute problems of farm labour in California, where large scale farms had long demanded a population of itinerant labourers to harvest seasonal crops. After World War I, economic and ecological forces brought many rural poor and migrant agricultural workers from the Great Plains states, such as Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas, to California. Following World War I, a recession led to a drop in the market price of farm crops, which meant that farmers were forced to produce more goods in order to earn the same amount of money. To meet this demand for increased productivity, many farmers bought more land and invested in expensive agricultural equipment, which plunged them into debt. The stock market crash of 1929 only made matters worse. Banks were forced to foreclose on mortgages and collect debts. Unable to pay their creditors, many farmers lost their property and were forced to find other work. But doing so proved very difficult, since the nation's unemployment rate had skyrocketed, peaking at nearly twenty-five percent in 1933.The increase in farming activity across the Great Plains states caused the precious...

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