Background of the story
- A Novel about two farm workers and their dream of having their own farm
-The events in the Novel are fictional but show what life was life in the Great depression
'The great depression'
1- The american stock market crashed in 1929, thosands of people who'd invested in shares lost their money.
2- Many banks were forced to shut down
3- No one could afford to buy things, the lack of demand meant millions of people ended up unemployed
John Steinbeck- Knew what life was like on ranches
the noval is based on his own experiences working on ranches
The novel is based on his 'dust bowl triology'
Language and structure
Irony- Saying one thing but meaning another, sarcasm is a crude form of spoken irony. Authors use irony to show real meanings which people sometimes hide. For example when crooks is being ironic when he says it's 'swell' to have a room with manure heap outside it's window.
Imagery- are the authors use of description, it can be any picture the author summons up but often consist of either the use of a simile (saying one thing is like another) a simile often uses the words 'like' or 'as'.
or a metaphor (saying one thing is another). They never use the words 'like' or 'as'.
Examples of imagery- simile quote- 'the way a bear drags his paws'. Steinbeck is not saying lennie is a bear he is just saying he is like a bear
metaphor quote- 'hatchet face' slims face is not a hatchet but it has some features of a hatchet; sharp,hard and clearly defined by using slims face is a hatchet by using a metaphor (saying slims face is a hatchet) gives a more immediate, drive and force than if he had used a smilie and said slims face was like a hatchet.
life in the 'great depression' was tough
The great depression in the 1930's hit farmers badly. Many farmers were forced to leave their homes and move to other areas to find work.
Many farmers had borrowed from the banks to buy modern machines for their farms. The machines helped farmers produce more crops, but eventually led to overproduction, which made prices fall.
A drought in 1930s combined with over-farming, created the 'Dust Bowl'. The soil dried up and the wind blew up the fertile top layer, because of this huge areas of farm land became like a dessert, and couldn't be used to grow crops.
More Language and Structure
Dialogue- The way the other characters speak to each other in a novel or in a play.
The Dialogue in Of Mice and Men is very realistic.Steinbeck tried to imitate the way ranch hands really spoke. He could have had george say 'we have to keep working here until we can gather up some money together. We have no option. We'll leave as soon as we can. I do not like it any more than you do.' but he has george say it as it, the way a ranch worker would have said it.
Theme- A central idea the author bases the plot around and the ideas that the story follows
themes of 'Of Mice and Men' include; Loneliness and isolation, prejudice, women, Dreams, Destiny, Death.
Paradox- is when a statement that appears on the outside to be outrageous is shown to be true. for example Curley's wife is a 'tart' and causes her own death and Lennie's, but at the same time occurs to be 'innocent'.
The 1920's was 'Boom time', but in 1929 it went bu
1920s was 'boom time' there was low inflation, low unemployment and low interest rates, so people had a very high standard of living.
Cities were rebuilt with big skyscrapers and major road building programs were undertaken.
There was a consumer bloom. More people could afford items like radios, refrigerators, washing machines and vacuum cleaners.
The american stock market crashed catastrophically this led to a massive economic depression in the 1930s, when;
-there where high levels of unemployment
-increasing mechanisation was driving agricultural laborers off the land.
-California was filling official ( and unofficial) refugee camps
- Land owners in states such as Oklamhoma and Arkansas were going bankrupt and their land was being repossessed by the banks
-some banks themselves were collapsing