• LO: to understand the social and historical background of the
What are your impressions of
Write down three
OF MICE AND MEN
LO: to understand the social
and historical background of
Context: An introduction to 1920s
• The Roaring Twenties / the Jazz Age:
For many people in America (especially the cities such as New York and Chicago)
the 1920s are years of considerable prosperity. American goods are protected
from competition with imports by high tariffs (customs duties) and Americans
are encouraged to buy American produced consumer products such as cars,
washing machines, refrigerators and radios.
The consumer goods boom does not affect all people equally. By 1929 over 50%
of Americans earn less than $2000 a year, with 40% below the poverty line.
Black and immigrant workers are particularly likely to be affected by low wages
and unemployment. Farming families are far less likely to enjoy the consumer
boom as many rural areas still have no electricity and small farm incomes drop
dramatically as the price of wheat falls.
Watch this short clip
1. Describe the faces of the people in the film
2. Why were so many of them queuing?
3. What kind of work were the men looking for?
4. How would you describe their lives?
THE GREAT DEPRESSION!
•On Black Thursday, October 29, 1929, the
stock market crashed, triggering the Great
Depression, the worst economic collapse in
the history of the modern industrial world.
•It spread from the United States to the rest
of the world, lasting from the end of 1929
until the early 1940s. With banks failing and
businesses closing, more than 15 million
Americans (one-quarter of the workforce)
To make matters
was hit by a
many farms could
6. Describe the picture using sight, sound and
7. How would the droughts mean there was
The depression also led to a drop in the
market price of farm crops, which
meant that farmers were forced to
produce more goods in order to earn
the same amount of money.
The Dust Bowl
• The increase in farming activity
across the Great Plains states
caused the precious soil to erode.
• This erosion, coupled with a seven-
year drought that began in 1931,
turned once fertile grasslands into a
„desert like‟ region known as the
WHAT DID THEY DO?.
People heard that
in California the
soil was still good
and there was
plenty of room and
8. If you were a farmer from Oklahoma
in the 1930s what would you do?
9. Pick one of
you are in the
how you feel.
The History of Migrant Farmers in
•During the Great Depression,
economic and ecological forces (the
Dust Bowl) brought many rural poor
and migrant agricultural workers
from the Great Plains states, such
as Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas, to
Fill in the gaps…
What is the American Dream?
America has always been seen as the Land of________, partly because
immigrants from Europe saw it as a place of freedom, a place to begin a
new____, a place for real possibilities and _____for all.
This belief in America as a --_____ where ordinary people could create a
better life for themselves is often referred to as The American_____.
From the 17th century, where the first settlers arrived, immigrants dreamed of
a ______life in America
People went there to ______from persecution, to make a new life for
themselves and their______.
For many the dream became a _________.
The horrors of_______, of the American Civil War, the growth of slums and
the corruption of the government led to many _________ hopes
For many the dream ended with the ____Street crash in____.
Nightmare, Better, slavery, 1929, Dream, Wealth, Opportunity, shattered, life,
country, escape, families, Wall.
The American Dream…
farmers packed up
their families and
few belongings, and
California, which, for
seemed like a
•The state‟s mild
climate promised a
season and, with soil
favourable to a wider
range of crops, it
… is shattered!!
few found it to
be the land of
and plenty of
The „New Deal‟
- support for
and Men is
About The Author
• John Steinbeck was born in 1902 in
Salinas, California, a region that
became the setting for much of his
fiction, including Of Mice and Men.
• As a teenager, he spent his summers
working as a hired hand on
neighbouring ranches, where his
experiences of rural California and
its people impressed him deeply.
•He wrote the book „ Of Mice
and Men‟ in 1936
•Like „Of Mice and Men‟ many of
his books deal with the lives and
problems of working people.
•Many of his characters in his
books are immigrants who went
to California looking for work or
a better life.
Write this in your books:
Steinbeck's novels can all be classified as,
“social novels dealing
with the economic
problems of rural
The title comes from a poem
by a Scottish poet Robert Burns.
‘The best laid schemes o’ mice and men
Gang aft agley (often go wrong)
And leave us nought but grief and pain
For promised joy!’
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew, (often go wrong0
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!
happen in the
story. I think