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Of Mice and Men Background
Transcript of Of Mice and Men Background
Of Mice and Men Major Events in America in the 1930s The Great Depression Robert Burn's "To A Mouse" Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murd'ring pattle!
I'm truly sorry man's dominion,
Has broken nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An' fellow-mortal! Salinas Valley, California Additional Information Background Information
Created by: McFaul Born in Salinas, CA in 1902.
From a middle class family.
At the age of 14 he decided to be a writer and spent a lot of time writing in his room.
In high school, Steinbeck did well in English and edited the school yearbook.
Steinbeck attended Stanford University to please his parents, but only chose courses that interested him: classical and British Literature, writing courses, and an odd science course.
However, Steinbeck did not receive a degree because he would drop in and out of school; sometimes to work with migrant workers and bindlestiffs on California ranches.
Steinbeck published novels, travel writing, and movie scripts.
He died on December 20th, 1968.
He had 30 novels published; three of which were published after his death. Major Texts:
Of Mice and Men (1937)
The Grapes of Wrath (1939)
Both books focus on the lives of the working-class poor during the Great Depression. Writing:
Wrote about his travels and life experiences.
Criticized social injustices of the working class.
Commented on the moral corruption of America.
Used plain, everyday language.
Presented normal people with physical and mental flaws.
Used the America's Great Depression as a centerpiece for his writing.
Awarded Nobel Prize in 1962 (A HUGE deal). The idea of an American Dream for many was broken when in 1929, the Wall Street crashed, marking the beginning of the Great Depression.
In addition, terrible drought and environmental conditions created the turmoil for farmers known as the Dust Bowl. Before the 1930s, America was enjoying economic triumph.
The idea of credit – buy now, pay later – was introduced and people bought everything they could.
Unfortunately, this time of enjoyment and prosper would soon be over. Another cause of the Great Depression was bank failures.
Throughout the 1930s over 9,000 banks failed.
Bank deposits were uninsured and thus as banks failed people simply lost their savings.
Surviving banks, unsure of the economic situation and concerned for their own survival, stopped being as willing to create new loans. With the stock market crash and the fears of further economic woes, individuals from all classes stopped purchasing items.
This then led to a reduction in the number of items produced and thus a reduction in the workforce.
As people lost their jobs, they were unable to keep up with paying for items they had bought through credit and their items were repossessed.
The unemployment rate rose above 25% which meant, of course, even less spending to help alleviate the economic situation. One of the major causes of the Great Depression was the collapse of the Stock Market on “Black Tuesday”, October 29th , 1929.
In a single day, sixteen million shares were traded--a record--and thirty billion dollars vanished into thin air.
Two months after the original crash in October, stockholders had lost more than $40 billion dollars. The Dust Bowl Throughout the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Great Plains suffered a severe drought.
In 1934, windstorms covered the Great Plains.
They easily uplifted the soil, blowing massive clouds of dust all over the plains. The Dust Bowl also caused the negative morale of the country to grow.
Thousands of people were forced to leave their homes because of the Dust Bowl.
89 million acres of land were severely damaged or destroyed.
Most people traveled to California to restart their lives. The American Dream From the 17th Century onwards, immigrants have dreamed of a better life in America.
Many people immigrated to America in search of a new life for themselves or their families.
Many others immigrated to escape persecution or poverty in their homeland.
These immigrants dreamed of making their fortunes in America.
For many this dream of riches became a nightmare.
*There were horrors of slavery in America.
*There were horrors of the American Civil War.
*There was a growing number of slums in America that were just as bad as those in Europe.
*There was also great corruption in the American political system which led to shattered hopes amongst the common people. I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request;
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
An' never miss't!
Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's winds ensuin,
Baith snell an' keen!
Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell -
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell. That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld!
But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!
Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me
The present only toucheth thee:
But, Och! I backward cast my e'e.
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear! Read the poem and listen as it is read (the video). Migrant Workers Before technology created farm machinery, humans had to do a lot of the farm work by hand.
Between the 1880s and the 1930s thousands of men would travel the countryside in search of work, including the harvesting of wheat.
These workers would earn $2.50 or $3.00 a day, plus food and shelter.
During the 1930s, the unemployment rate was high in the U.S., and with so many men searching for work, agencies were set up to send farmworkers to where they were needed. Bindlestiff Hobos, especially ones that carried a bedroll. Outcasts People who were different:
Different skin color
These individuals were marginalized in America during this time period. Of Mice and Men The story of two ranch workers who travel throughout California in search of the American Dream.
Point of View: 3rd person omniscient.
Six chapters, covering 3 days, each set on or near a ranch.
Chapters 1 and 6 take place in the same location, creating a circular effect.
Two main characters: George and Lennie.
Their dream: To own a piece of land to grow crops, raise animals, and live peacefully.
The boss Big Ideas:
LonelinessHopes and DreamsFriendshipDignity and PridePrejudiceThe American Dream Steinbeck's use of animals Mice Rabbits Bears What are the characteristics of each of these animals?
What is the relationship between each of these animals and humans?