Discuss the Social Background in 'of Mice & Men'

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  • Topic: Great Plains, Agriculture, Great Depression
  • Pages : 2 (447 words )
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  • Published : May 8, 2009
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The Novel 'Of Mice and Men' was set in the 1930's after World War 1 during the time of the great American depression. Following World War I, farmers were forced to produce more goods in order to earn the same amount of money due to a recession which led to a drop in the market price of farm crops. For this reason, many farmers plunged into debt as they had to buy more land and invest in expensive agricultural equipment. The stock market crash of Wall Street in 1929 only made matters worse. Banks were forced to foreclose on mortgages and collect debts. Due to not having enough funds so as to pay creditors, numerous farmers lost their properties and were forced to find work elsewhere. But this was easier said than done, as quite a percentage of the population had become unemployed, peaking at nearly twenty-five percent in 1933.

Soil erosion was a devastating result from the increase in farming activity in the Great Plains states. When coupled with a seven-year drought beginning in 1931, this erosion transformed grasslands which were once fertile into a desert-like region known as the Dust Bowl. Millions of Americans from the Great Plains states, such as Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas, travelled to California, which, for numerous reasons, seemed like a promised land. They wanted to find work there, at any wages. These migrants were often met with scorn by California farmers and natives, which only made their dislocation and poverty even more unpleasant. most were only employed for a week at a time. However, they were treated quite well. Quotes like, "Go on out with the grain teams after dinner" tells us that they were being fed, "brightness showing through the windows of the bunk-house" shows us they had lodgings, and "the shout of men, playing, encouraging, jeering" tells us they had some time off. The more cautious of men could save much of their money as all they had to spend it on was themselves. Many cherished the dream that one day they would have a place of...
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