Of Mice andMen Secondary 4Enriched English A novel study
John Steinbeck John Steinbeck is one of the most influential authors of American literature whose works have earned him many prestigious literary awards such as the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for literature.
A Look at the Author• Born February 27th in 1902 in Salinas, California.• During his childhood, Steinbecklearned to appreciate his surroundings,and loved the Salinas countryside. Thisappreciation would later comeout in his writing.• Steinbeck worked during his summers as a hiredhand in nearby ranches.
A Look at the Author• At the age of 14 he decided to be a writer and spent a lot of time writing in his room.• From 1919-1925 Steinbeck attended Stanford University to please his parents, but only chose courses that interested him, classical and British Literature, writing courses, and an odd science course.• However, Steinbeck did not receive a degree because he would drop in and out of school, sometimes to work with migrant workers and bindlestiffs on California ranches.
What is a Bindlestiff? A hobo, especially one who carries a bedroll.
A Look at the AuthorDuring the late 1920s and 1930s, he concentrated onwriting and wrote several novels set in California. In 1936, Of Mice and Men was published, and was so widely accepted that Steinbeck began a book tour that led him to Europe.
A Look at the Author• In 1939, The Grapes of Wrath was published and became an instant best-seller; in 1940 it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, one of the most prestigious literary awards in the world.• This novel, just like Of Mice and Men, stemmed from his experience working among migrant workers.• Steinbeck’s experiences in the fields researching migrant workers led him to have more compassion for these workers, and stirred up his concern for social justice.
His Legacy• Steinbecks real gift was to see people that the rest of society chose to overlook: defeated refugees of the Dust Bowl, unemployed paisanos, cannery workers eking out a living on a factory wage.• Steinbeck also challenged his readers to look at the harsh realities of life, with the belief that facing such conditions was the first step toward improving them. Steinbecks strongest belief was in the ability of man to improve his condition.
His Legacy "The ancient commission of the writer has not changed," he said uponaccepting his Nobel Prize in 1962. "He ischarged with exposing our many grievous faults and failures, with dredging up tothe light our dark and dangerous dreams for the purpose of improvement." By giving voice to voiceless people, JohnSteinbeck lived up to the challenge he set for himself.
What is the Great Depression? The Great Depression is the longest and worst economic crisis of many nations’ history-notably the United States, Canada and manyEuropean countries.
What caused the Great Depression?• As the Industrial Revolution expanded so did the economy.• People were buying goods that they could not afford.• Banks were lending money that they didn’t have.• Money was not insured, so when banks closed, people lost all of their money.• Panicking people removed all of their money from banks and stocks.
Black Tuesday-October 29, 1929• The stock market crashed, experiencing the worst day in its history. Too many investors were selling, and not enough were buying.• By November, stocks had lost 40% of their value-individual investors and companies had lost all of their money
The Dustbowl Years• Occurred in the southern Great Plains of the United States.• During WWI, farmers could not meet the supply and demand for their products.• Farmers began to expand their farms, but did not use the soil conservation practices that are used today.• Because the soil was being overused, it became dry and unusable.• A drought began in 1931 and lasted for over 7 years.• Dust storms began happening in 1932 and farms were literally being blown away.
Migrant Farm Workers• Many farmers began to lose their jobs because of the dust bowl, foreclosure and mechanized farming equipment.• When farms expanded, they needed loans from banks. As production decreased after WWI, these farmers could no longer pay the banks back.• Farm hands were not in high demand because machines could replace humans.• Farmers travelled to California to work because the harvesting season was longer and the soil was still good, meaning more jobs were available.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, thehomeless, tempest tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” -Emma LazarusWritten on the base of the Statue of Liberty
The American Dream• You can be successful if you work hard and live morally.• America is the land of opportunity.• Freedom to work hard and be happy is enshrined in the Constitution.• The Dream assumes equality of opportunity, no discrimination, freedom to follow goals and freedom from victimization.
The American Dream• From the 17th Century onwards, immigrants have dreamed of a better life in America.• Many people immigrated to America in search of a new life for themselves or their families.• Many others immigrated to escape persecution or poverty in their homeland.
The American Dream• The idea of an American Dream for many was broken when in 1929, the Wall Street crashed, marking the beginning of the Great Depression.• This era affected the whole world during the 1930s, but even in the midst of hardship, some people’s dreams survived.• Thousands of people made their way west towards California to escape from their farmlands in the Midwest that were failing due to drought.
The Book The novel chronicles the lives of two migrant farm workers, George and Lennie, looking for work in the farmland of the Salinas Valley near Soledad, California.
Of Mice and Men-Title’s OriginThe title of the novel comes from a poem by the Scottish poetRobert Burns (1759 -96) 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 plans of mice and men often go wrong-referring to a little mouse who had so carefully built herburrow in a field to protect herself and her little micebabies-but the burrow is turned over and destroyed bya man plowing the field.