A Comparison of The Harvest Gypsies and Of Mice and Men Essay

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A Comparison of The Harvest Gypsies and Of Mice and Men

John Steinbeck does not portray migrant farm worker life accurately in Of Mice and Men. Housing, daily wages, and social interaction were very different in reality. This paper will demonstrate those differences by comparing the fictional work of Steinbeck to his non-fictional account of the time, The Harvest Gypsies.

The first area that will be compared is housing. In Of Mice and Men the housing is described by the following passage:

"The bunk house was a long, rectangular building. Inside, the walls were whitewashed and the floor unpainted. In three walls there were small square windows, and in the fourth, a solid door with a wooden latch. Against the
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"Look, if me an' Lennie work a month an' don't spen' nothing, we'll have a hundred bucks." (60) This quote, by George, shows that on the farm they worked, he and Lennie could make $100 a month combined. If they worked a year, they could make around one thousand dollars. George and Lennie would have been extremely wealthy migrant workers compared to actual wages earned. The following quote from The Harvest Gypsies shows an entirely different picture.

"If the husband hits every harvest without delay and works the maximum time, he may make four hundred dollars this year. But if anythings happen, is his old car breaks down, if he is late and misses a harvest or two, he will make enough to feed his whole family on as little as one hundred and fifty." (27)

Some of the families in The Harvest Gypsies had it even worse than the family mentioned in the previous quote.

"He is a bad field worker for the same reason. It takes him a long time to make up his mind, so he is always late in moving and late in arriving in the fields. His top wage, when he can find work, which isn't often, is a dollar a day." (30)

From both families described in the above quotes, one can see the top wage was $400 a year and low wage was $150 a year. Although the families made money, it didn't compare to the wages of George and Lennie in Of Mice and Men. These two men could earn

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