The Great Depression is comparable to Lennie and George's life. I would like
to give a comparison of George Milton and Lennie Small to the Great
Depression. The time that this story took place was during the Great
Depression. John Steinbeck captured the reality of this most difficult time.
During the Great Depression people needed to travel together to share
chores and duties to make a living until something better came along. That is
the way George and Lennie traveled. They traveled together to take care of
each other but George took care of Lennie the most, because he was always
getting in trouble. "You do bad things and I got to get you out." (Of Mice
and Men p.11). During the Great Depression money was very scarce. You
had to travel around to find a job in order to make money to survive. Lennie
and George were in that type of predicament. Keeping enough money until
the next job was difficult because prices were rising during the Great
Depression and you had to budget your money. During this depression most
people worked on farms because after the stock market crashed people
realized that the reason the stock market crashed was because farms were not
producing enough goods. People started to work on farms more to help
everyone. Lennie and George worked for ranches and also in the fields.
"He's a good skinner. He can rassel grain bags, drive a cultivator. He can do
anything." (Of Mice and Men p.22).
If you really look closely, George and Lennie's way of life and the
Great Depression have a good deal in common. George and Lennie were
outcasts in life. George Milton was small in size and a very smart man
compared to Lennie. He was actually only of average intelligence. Lennie
Small was a large person and very retarded. Since Lennie was so retarded he
did not grasp the things that were happening around him. For example, if
someone became upset about anything he would grab them and hold and
squeeze until they stopped moving. Lennie would accidentally harm them and
that is how he got into trouble. George would then have to try to get Lennie
out of the current predicament. This sort of ties in with the attitude of the
people during the Great Depression because people were constantly unsettled.
The people in the Great Depression were losing all of the money that they had
worked so hard to earn and save. When the banks closed, they lost
everything. When someone found themselves in great difficulty on a farm or
ranch they had to seek some other opportunity. It was very important to not
let anyone know what had happened where you were previously employed.
In 1929, Herbert Hoover was elected president. Wall Street was
greatly affected by the greatest stock market crash in the history of the United
States of America. This caused everyone and especially the banks to panic.
Everyone was naturally concerned about the safety of their money. They
went to the banks to get what money they could. There was not enough
money for everyone to withdrawal. This was the beginning of the Great
Depression. During this period president Franklin D. Roosevelt was
inaugurated. President Roosevelt said, "So, first of all, let me assert my firm
belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself--nameless, unreasoning,
unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into
advance." (The Great Depression An Eyewitness History p.105). His first
action of presidency was to implement what is known as the New Deal to
help the country to emerge from the Great Depression.
In conclusion there are many things that can be compared between the
two subjects. First, the settings between the two stories were similar and they
both took place during the same time frame. Second, they told of the
hardships that everyone faced during the 1930's. Hardships and relationships
never last but memories help us to make better decisions in the future.