An Analysis of Mice and Men Regarding The Great Depression

Topics: Great Depression, Wall Street Crash of 1929, John Steinbeck Pages: 11 (2411 words) Published: April 29, 2014

Aspects of the Great Depression Examined from Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

The Great Depression of the United States is a complex topic within the history of the United States and entailed hardship and suffering, which was experienced by most of the working class population, especially within the agricultural sector. A combination of over production, high tariffs and war debt, monetary policies, financial panic and the 1929 stock market crash, contributed to the era known as the Great Depression. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck follows the story of two migrant agricultural workers in search of work and the experiences they encountered from working on a California ranch during the Great Depression. John Steinbeck writes to address facets of social problems that impact the marginalized people of society in social and economical aspects.

Of Mice and Men is a novel set in the United States whilst the great depression was taking place. The story follows two protagonists, George and Lennie, who embark on a journey, which ultimately ends in tragedy. Lennie is partially mentally handicapped and looks up to George for guidance and support. George voices and always talks on the behalf of Lennie, due to George’s condition. They share a dream of owning their own ranch together with various farm animals living on it, but only at the end of the novel does the protagonist realize that their dream was never really achievable. The novel entails the hardship experienced by migrant workers and the life of the impoverished.

The two primary documents observed that relates to the Great Depression include: “ President Herbert Hoover Applauds Limited Government, 1931” and Song of Depression: “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” 1931. “President Herbert Hoover Applauds Limited Government, 1931”, are the words of Herbert Hoover addressing his views on the role of the federal government during the Great Depression and the views he felt on how to resolve the economic depression. As one can entail from the title, President Hoover voiced conservative actions on the federal governments involvement with the Great Depression. His belief of limited governmental intervention, exhortation and voluntarism would be key to leading the United States out of this economic depression. “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” 1931, is a song describing the situation of effected working class in a social context and allows the viewer to gain insight in living in poverty. The song also mimics President Herbert Hoover’s idea of voluntarism as a one of the resolutions to combat the Great Depression.

As mentioned before the Great Depression was the worst economic crisis the United States has yet to experience. The idea that the Great Depression had been caused by the crash of the stock market in 1929 is widely held, but the occurrence of the depression is much more complex then that. The combination of over production, high tariffs and war debt, unequal distribution of wealth, monetary policies, financial and panic and the 1929 stock market crash lead to the Great Depression, but it’s important to understand the context of the time era and what lead to the combination of these factors. During the First World War, the United States had emerged as an economic power house with its growth in production and manufacturing. The industrial sector grew as supplies and weapons were needed to fuel the war in Europe and the agricultural sector yielded large harvests to be sent to Europe for feeding soldiers. During and post World War I, the United States had loaned billions of dollars to European nations in assistance for reconstruction. During the “New Era” (1920-1929), the United States experienced large-scale domestic consumption of consumer goods that had been made possible by purchases on credit and installment buying. The banking system consisted of small individual institutions that relied on their own resources and had been independent from the federal...
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