OF MICE AND MEN
“Of Mice and Men” (1937) is a novel set on a ranch in the Salinas Valley in California, America, during the Great Depression era of the 1930’s. During this era social and economic problems developed with escalating unemployment and the marginalization of migrant workers. The novel portrays the experiences of migrant workers living on the outer fringes of society through meaningful dialogue from the behaviour of exploited people who were not able to speak up for themselves and of their elusive dreams of someday owning their own piece of land.
John Steinbeck (1937) depicts George and Lennie, the two main characters as “victims of forces beyond their control” (pg 4), who share a dream of owning their own land someday with lots of rabbits. They are migrant workers who take jobs at a ranch where their hopes are at first raised but then destroyed by an accident. Steinbeck’s description of George and Lennie as two innocents whose dream conflicts with the realities of a world dominated by materialism and greed and their special friendship distinguishes them from other hopeless and lonely migrant farm workers. The novel portrays a class of migrant workers whose plight had been previously ignored in earlier decades.
The migrant workers that circulated around America in the 1930s were a minority trying to make the best of a difficult situation. The dominant capitalist values of society were of ownership and being settled with a home and family and car. The novel is from the perspective of the migrants: this positions the reader to sympathise with the lifestyles migrant workers were forced to endure through being marginalized due to race, physical appearance, and gender.
Women in the 1930’s were marginalized due to a belief that a women’s job was to stay at home, clean, cook and rear children and had only recently gained voting rights in America. The change only made it to cities, the country towns stayed mostly traditional. The three different...
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