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Of Mice And Men, By John Steinbeck. Critical Analysis On The Effects Of The Depression Era On The Migrant Farm Worker.

1552 words - 6 pages

America has always been the land of opportunity, and since its existence, every American strives to live the "American dream." However, in the 1930's, due to the Great Depression, the land of opportunity became the land of misfortune. Times had changed from a wealthy nation into a weak economy where many strained to beat the odds of poverty. Many workers found their only hope for a new life lay in California (Of Mice and Men Factsheet). Thousands make their way west to California to escape their farmlands in the mid-west, and George and Lennie are among these migrant workers. Moving to Salinas, California, George and Lennie hope for a new beginning and better possibilities. The economic hardships cause many difficulties for George and Lennie. They struggle to live a life of disrespect and degradation, and do so only in hopes of attaining the "American Dream". The effects of the Great Depression are evident in John Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men. The economic conditions of the Depression era in America victimized workers, like George and Lennie, whose only quest was for land and opportunity.Of Mice and Men centers around George and Lennie's hope of attaining the "American Dream." This idea of overcoming all obstacles and beating all odds to one day be successful lives within many of the characters throughout the novel. However, their definitions of the American dream are all diverse. George wants his own land, and to be able to support himself and be his own boss. Lennie shares the same dream of living on a farm with George where he can raise bunnies in order to pet. During the 1930's, many seek wealth through the growing popularity of cinema (Owens 2). Curley's wife shows this desire while talking to Lennie, "I coulda been in the movies, an' had nice clothes" (Steinbeck ). During the 1930's, an evident theme became man's longing for land (Fontenrose 3). George and Lennie often discuss their hopes of having their own place. George talks about wanting to "have my own little place, an' [...] brinin' in my own crops, stead of doin all the work and not getting what comes up outa the ground" (Steinbeck). Throughout Of Mice and Men, the definition of a mans success is determined by whether or not he owns property. It was part of the American dream to have your own land. It was a standard, and a sign of achievement. "Everybody wants a little bit of land, not much. Jus' som'thin' that was his. Som'thin' he could live on and there couldn't nobody throw him off it" (Steinbeck ). The American worker strives for success and wants stability. They dream of owning land because it guaranteed a life of security. In Of Mice and Men, other workers overheard George and Lennie discussing their hopes and are inspired by their ambition. This triggers something within all of the characters. They start to realize that maybe they have hope. The other migrant workers ask to become a part of their "dream". Candy and Crooks become a part of the goals that George and Lennie...

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