Of Mice and Men Context

James Austin
Mind Map by James Austin, updated more than 1 year ago
James Austin
Created by James Austin over 6 years ago


mindmap of omam context

Resource summary

Of Mice and Men Context
  1. Positions in Society
    1. The position of African americans in society in the 1930s has been described as an American Hell. They had no civil rights, were allowed to own land in some circumstances(if the white people had no apparent use for it), were forbidden from attending school or from visiting a library to educate themselves and the only jobs they could perform was housework for their 'Employers. They weren't allowed to sleep in the house in which they worked and often had to live in garden sheds or barns. Lots of this was based off of the 'Jim Crow Laws', beginning in the 1880s, which legalized segregation of Blacks and Whites. The Ku Klux Klan was also prominent, with many high ranking officials being members. This lead to the executing via burning, lynching and beating of over 5000 Black people.
      1. The position of Women in society in the 1930s was that they were inferior to men. They were thought to belong in the home, as the housewife, cleaner and carer for the children. If they did manage to get a job they were often frowned upon for doing so, as they were viewed as having taken money away from men. They also had no job security, and could be fired simply on the grounds that they are female. They were still discouraged from seeking higher education and were often denied entry to certain schools, universities and colleges. When they did manage to get in to schools it was very rarely for professional degrees, rather life skills.
      2. Economics
        1. America's economic position was a very bad one. By 1933, the country's GNP had fallen to half its 1929 level. Industrial production fell by more than half, construction of new factories dropped by 90% and production of Cars dropped by over 2 thirds. 13 million American had lost their jobs, 62% of those being out of work for at least a year. Bank failures cause over $7billion worth of savings to literally vanish, leaving many Americans extremely poor.
          1. The Wall Street Crash lead to the Great Depression. The Wall Street crash was caused by a myriad of reasons, the main of which was the existence of too many goods with not enough wealthy people who could afford to purchase them. This coupled with the amount of money America had lost in the first world war lead to a huge collapse of the entire American banking system. Over 5000 banks went out of business.
          2. Agricultural
            1. The Dust Bowl occurred as a result of severe drought in 1931. This caused farmer's crops to die and decompose, and dust from the overplowed and over-grazed lands to begin to blow around. Over the coming years the storms increased in frequency and severity as a result of a number of years of serious droughts. This left farmers extremely poor and many migrated to the areas of the country with a higher precipitation. By 1934, 100 million acres of land had lost all or most of their topsoil to the dust storm, leading to huge violent storms to become common.
              1. The Dust caused a huge amount of damage to property, crops and health. The dust was extremely harmful to inhale, and women often hung wet sheets over windows in a futile attempt to prevent the dust from entering their home. Children wore 'dust masks' anytime they left the house to protect their insides.
              2. Political
                1. Franklin D Roosevelt was the president at the time of the novel's release (1937). He was the first truly liberal president of the US, elected due to his beliefs about the creation of Government programs for the betterment of the United States. This gave him a lot of support as he helped millions during his presidency in the great depression, as over 13 million were out of work and relied on government programs to earn money. He also believed in direct relief, which consists of the government giving money directly to the poor. This is the opposite of Herbert Hoover (his predecessor)'s beliefs, as he thought the government shouldn't intervene in the people's lives.
                  1. John Steinbeck's personal political views were that of a socialist, as despite his protected and privileged upbringing he was extremely sympathetic to the daily plights of the Working Class. The majority of his novels highlight the social inequalities that were prevalent during his upbringing and life, and he had a lot of empathy for those who were disadvantaged because they weren't part of the elitist society.
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