How Does John Steinbeck Affect The Great Depression

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The Great Depression in the 1930’s affected both urban and rural America materially and psychologically. What made the Great Depression the worst economic crisis in history was the massive unemployment and accompanying hardship. Shops and factories closed, banks went bankrupt, and farm income dropped to half. Because businesses cut by laying off workers, the unemployment rate rose from 3 to almost 25 percent. Thousands of Americans took to the road in search of jobs and thousands lived in shanty towns for the homeless, called Hoovervilles. John Steinbeck lived through the Great Depression. His novel, Of Mice and Men, focuses on rural America and the lives of migrant workers during the Great Depression. Thousands of Americans took to the road …show more content…
Carlson, another farm worker, complains about Candy’s dog who he says “got no teeth... He’s all stiff with rheumatism. He ain’t no good to himself” (44). The other farm workers believe that Candy’s dog is better off dead, because he is old and ill. Candy and his dog are mirror images of each other. Candy lost his hand in an accident while working on the farm. Because of their physical disabilities, they are seen as useless in society. The other farm workers, especially Carlson, have never experienced real friendship, that is why they do not understand the relationship between Candy and his dog. Candy explains his affection to his dog to the other men, saying, “I had him so long. Had him since he was a pup. I herded sheep with him... he was the best damn sheep dog I ever seen” (44). Candy’s dog is the only real friend Candy has on the farm. He has compassion and love for the only companion that he has had for many years. Now that his dog is useless to the farm, Candy protects him and even though it is a burden, he tries to hold onto his friendship. His dog gives Candy the feeling that he is needed by someone, so it is not only the dog who benefits from their relationship. Candy tries arguing with Carlson’s and Slim’s view but ultimately, Carlson leaves the bunk house with …show more content…
Steinbeck argues that in a world full of loneliness, the ultimate dream of companionship is not achieved. George and Lennie repeatedly compare their lives with the lives of other farm workers, claiming, “We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. We don’t have to sit in no bar room blowin’ in our jack jus’ because we got no place else to go… But not us! An’ why? Because… because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s why” (14). Lennie and George are very different characters, but they share the feelings that they have for each other. In the novel, farm workers are lonely and often had to move around due to the shortage of jobs. They have to rely on meaningless companionship, like wasting their money on alcohol and women, while George and Lennie enjoy an idealized friendship. George protects Lennie from the evil in society and does not leave his side, even though he could live a much easier life without him and Lennie trusts and loves him. Without each other, George would be like all the other farm workers, drifting aimlessly from one job to the next, while Lennie would not survive in the society by himself because of his mental disability. They both share the same dream of a farm,

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