Of Mice and Men

Topics: Great Depression, John Steinbeck, 1930s Pages: 5 (1794 words) Published: February 5, 2013
‘Of mice and men’.

Meanings of:
Bucking Barley- Throwing large bags of Barley grain onto the back of a truck. •Jerkline Skinner- A jerkline is a single rein that runs to the lead animal in the team of mules or horses. The skinner controls the jerkline. •Ranch Hand- A hired hand on a ranch.

Info on:
Life working on farms/ranches in the 1930’s America. If you were a farmer in the Midwest and Southwest during the 1930s, you had seemingly everything against you--from the Great Depression to dust storms and drought, according to Robin A. Fanslow with the Library of Congress. This trifecta of poor circumstances pushed many farmers to seek work elsewhere, in the more temperate California climate, prompting a mass exodus West. Once you reached California, you continued to be transient, according to the LOC. This was the case because you basically "followed the harvest," travelling from place to place to harvest whatever crop was in season. Earlier in the decade, there was a mentality that workers would be provided with the barest means, such as poor food, and then simply "sent on their way," according to UC-Davis. With reform, that changed and migrant worker camps were established; essentially, these were a federally-sponsored network of camps that provided shelter as well as health care, work counselling and food Though these camps mandated that workers volunteer a specified amount of time, you didn't just work; you also had opportunities to play, according to the Library of Congress. It reports that there was a sense of culture that flourished in the camp. Music served as one of the biggest recreational activities; popular among workers were traditional Anglo-Celtic ballads, as well as early country works by the likes of Gene Autry. The LOC also reports that music was created during this period by artists like Mary Sullivan and Jack Bryant, who documented what it was like to be a migrant in song. If you were a worker travelling from Mexico during this time, or an American of Mexican ethnic origin, you made far less than your white counterparts on the same job, according to the Oakland Museum of California. That being said, you still earned more in the states than you did in Mexico during this time. Mexican-American migrants patched together shelter from anything they could find, be it burlap, canvas or branches. Though it's estimated that in the 1920s, 75 per cent of migrant workers were of Mexican origin, as the country fell into the Great Depression, white workers took over their jobs, leaving many Mexican-Americans unemployed. Your work options expanded with the advent of World War II. For this reason, migrant work became far less necessary and, in turn, far less desirable. Many former migrant workers, according to the Library of Congress, went overseas to serve in the war. Still others supported the war effort stateside, taking on positions at coastal shipyards or at defence plants. •John Steinbeck- the writer of the book.

Although he spent a few years at Stanford University, the academic life did not suit John Steinbeck, because what he really wanted to do was to write. And write he did. Steinbeck penned twenty-seven novels, three collections of short stories, and numerous essays between 1929 and his death in 1968. He is best known for The Grapes of Wrath, a Depression-era (1930s) novel that follows the migratory experiences of the Joad family, who travel from the ravaged Oklahoma Dust Bowl to the “Promised Land” of California. Committed to diversity in his writing, Steinbeck’s other works of note include the semiautobiographical novel East of Eden, the comical Tortilla Flat, the travelogue Travels With Charley, and the nonfiction work Log From the Sea of Cortez. Essential facts.

1.Although many people believe him to be a lifelong Californian, Steinbeck spent much of his life in New York and eventually shed most of his ties to the Salinas Valley. 2.Steinbeck had...
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