John Steinbeck - Background.
John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California, in 1902. His family was very wealthy, although he was interested in working as a farm labourer. He spent a lot of time working on a ranch, and based a lot of his novels on his experiences.
A lot of his novels were about people who worked on the land, and dreamed of a better life. (Similar to the american dream) An example of this is a book he wrote called: 'The Grapes of Wrath'
America was hit by a great depression, otherwise known as the wallstreet crash, between the years of 1930 and 1936. Most people lost their life savings when banks went bust, and between 12 and 15 million people were unemployed.
Because of the lack of people earning money, food supplies were short. This led to people who live in cities where unemployment was high often not being able to pay their rent, and becoming homeless.
As well as the depression, there was also some natural disasters occuring in America. States like Texas, Olklahoma, and Kansas were hit with serious droughts.
Because of this ranch hands were moving across to California, where they thought they would be able to find more work. However this was not the case, so migrant workers in California found themselves homeless, and without work.
Ranch hands like George and Lennie were lucky to have work considering the countrys economic climate at the time. Ranch hands were very grateful just to have a job, a bunk house and food provided, even on the most basic pay.
Considering this, it is easier to understand why the men told Curley to say he got his hand caught in a machine when Lennie hurt him. They all understood how desperate times were, and knew that George and Lennie would loose their jobs if the Boss found out.