The Crucible and Of Mice and Men
John Steinbeck’s novel, Of Mice and Men, and Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, both have similarities and differences that appear through the history of the United States, prejudice, and also through the themes. Of Mice and Men and The Crucible, share the similarity of teaching the history of the United States throughout the pieces.
In the novel, Of Mice and Men, the reader will be able to learn the history of the United States through the writing style of the author, John Steinbeck.
The setting of this novella takes place in Salinas Valley in California during the 1930s, the time of the Great Depression. The Great Depression began when the stock market in the United States dropped rapidly. Thousands of investors lost large sums of money and many were wiped out and lost everything. This period was the longest and worst period of high unemployment and also with low business activity in modern times. Banks, stores, and factories were closed and left millions of Americans jobless, homeless, and penniless. With the economy in ruins, millions were struggling to find a job, and Salinas Valley was one solution. Because Salinas Valley had large farms that employed several workers at a time, many migrant farm workers, such as George and Lennie from John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, travelled there in order to find work. During this time of depression, work cards were extremely important in the United States’ history. Without work cards you wouldn’t be able to get the job. When Lennie thinks he lost his work card, “he looked down at the ground in despair” (5) which shows the importance of the card, during the time of the depression. The play, The Crucible, the reader will also be able to learn about the history of the United States. The setting of Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, was set during the 17th century, in a theocratic society in the small town of Salem, Massachusetts. The fact that the story takes place during the 17th century is important because in order for this type of play to happen, the town needed to be superstitious and gullible, and during this time period, there was a lot of paranoia of communists and witchcraft. Also, the event needed to be in a Puritan society to have such a strong hate to witches. People in the twentieth and even the nineteenth centuries would be too doubtful about the supernatural to believe the girls in the play. Puritanism is a very strict form of religion. Due to the theocratic nature of the community, government and religion were one. It was mandatory for people to conform into the social standards of the town because there was no room for variation. In Salem, everything and everyone was technically black or white, belonging either God or the devil. If you went against the social norm, you were considered having to deal with satanic activity. During this time, there were many witch hunts, searches for witches or even the slightest evidence of witchcraft, and this would lead to the death of many innocent people. Puritans believed that there really were witches and that they have the ability to harm other people. They would have trials for people who they believed were witches based on even the slightest of evidence. From these two literary masterpieces, the reader can understand the history of the United States during those times. Steinbeck makes George and Lennie migrant workers not only because they go along well with the setting, but also because they would be able to show the loneliness that was felt during the time of the depression. These men had nothing of their own, and they were seasonal unemployed, which means that their jobs depended on the season’s weather. If they weren’t needed because of the bad weather or other circumstances, they would then have to pack up, leave, and find a new job. These types of workers would want to be settled and have a sense of permanency, and that may be the reason why George and Lennie about...
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