Of Mice and Men - Context: Wall Street Crash and Migrant Workers

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Context
The Wall Street Crash
Wall Street is the home of the American stock market. Here is where Americans bought
shares in companies and if the companies did well then the shares could be sold at a
profit. During the 1920's the America as a whole country was doing well at American
companies were making profits. This meant that the confidence of the American people
was extremely high meaning that many people played on the market. This was loaning
money from the bank to buy shares and selling them when the profit has risen. Once the
shares were sold the loan would be repaid to the banks and the person would still have
a profit to keep for themselves.
However as the 1920's wore on the companies were making smaller profits as there
was a limited number of goods the American population could buy. As the profits fell
some share shareholders began to sell. As selling occurred the prices dropped rapidly
meaning that those who lent money from the bank could not pay the bank back. By the
end of 1929 share prices had dropped by $40,000 million.
Many people lost all their money on the stock markets and many of them lost their
homes as they had took out a loan against their house. Also many people lost their
livelihood as the companies were not making a profit and could not pay the workers so
many companies made major redundancies.
Quotes from OMAM
`Both were dressed in denim trousers and denim coats with brass buttons. Both wore
black shapeless hats.' This quote suggests that Lennie and George don't have any
individuality. Since they were wearing exactly the same clothes suggests that poverty
has taken grip of both George and Lennies lives and has stopped them from having an
identity that is personal to every human being. Poverty was caused by the Wall Street
Crash and this suggests that even though George and Lennie are just normal human
beings who did not gamble on the stock markets they have still been affected by
something which was completely out of their control which stripped them of everything
they owe. The juxtaposition of the word `shapeless' suggests that the hats are not only
thing that is shapeless so is George and Lennie. As George and Lennie are both
wearing the exactly the same is suggests shapelessness in them both along with the
other men on the ranch.
`maybe have a girl.' The most obvious way to view this quote is about what Georges life
could be without Lennie. However this quote could be viewed as Georges life without
the Wall Street Crash. If the Wall Street Crash did not happen then many of ranch
workers might not be travelling around America looking for work and for example
Crooks might not be living in the squalor that he is. Also many of the workers on the

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Migrant Workers
Migrant workers, also known as itinerant workers, were people who travelled around
America looking for work. Many of these people were in this circumstance because of
the Wall Street Crash. As mentioned before many people lost their homes and jobs
because of the crash on the stock market. For those who lost their homes they had to
pack up their belongings and leave whether they liked it or not.

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