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The Great Depression and Of Mice and Men- Literature Research Project

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Avika Parlecha

on 6 December 2012

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Transcript of The Great Depression and Of Mice and Men- Literature Research Project

A Closer Look The Great Depression The Stock Market Crash of 1929 1) Many believe that the stock market crash that occurred on Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929 is one and the same with the Great Depression. In fact, it was one of the major causes that led to the Great Depression. Two months after the original crash in October, stockholders lost more than $40 billion dollars. Even though the stock market began to regain some of its losses, by the end of 1930, it just was not enough, and America truly entered what is called the "Great Depression." Bank Failures 2) Throughout the 1930s, over 9,000 banks failed. Bank deposits were uninsured, and as a result, banks failed and people lost all their savings. Surviving banks, unsure of the economic situation and concerned about their own survival, were reluctant to create new loans. This intensified the situation and lead to fewer expenditures. What Caused the Great Depression? The Great Depression was not caused by just one factor, but instead a combination of domestic and worldwide conditions that led to the worst economic crash in history. Although there is no agreed upon list of all its causes, here instead is a list of the top reasons that historians and economists have cited as causing the Great Depression. Reduction in Purchasing Across the Board 3) With the stock market crash, bank failures, and fear of further economic misery, individuals, wealthy and poor, stopped purchasing items. This led to a reduction in the number of items produced and therefore, a reduction in the workforce. As people lost their jobs, they were unable to keep up with paying for items they had bought and their items were repossessed. As inventory began to accumulate, the unemployment rate rose above 25%, which meant even less spending to help alleviate the economic situation. American Economic Policy with Europe 4) As businesses began failing, the government created the Smoot-Hawley Tariff in 1930 to help protect American companies. This charged a high tax for imports, which led to less trade between America and foreign countries along with some economic retaliation. Connection to Of Mice and Men One of the strongest connections between the Great Depression and Steinbeck's novel is how the need to find work is a challenging one. Lennie and George are introduced to us as vagabonds in the novel. They wander in search of work. They go wherever there is work. They are not working as a part of their own existence. Work is their existence. Similar to the Great Depression, where millions struggled to find work, Lennie and George move from place to place wherever there is a pair of jobs to be available. The reality of broken dreams is another element that the novel brings out which is embedded in the Great Depression. Part of what makes the time period so painful is that it is the sum of so many dreams that have been ruptured. The bonds that tied people to their dreams were severed as a result of the Great Depression. Dreaming, came with the price of disappointment and this is seen in several contexts in the novel. Crooks is afraid to dream because of the disappointment that is evident as a result. The time period where poverty and the pain of economic hardship reduced individuals to both needing dreams, but understanding how little hope there was in achieving them. Furthermore, characters like Lennie and George have dreams, but are never going to achieve them because of the money that is involved. The Great Depression represents a scarcity of money and the need to search for something that isn't there, something true to both men and the time period.
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