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Of Mice and Men

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 08:05 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 62.4 
  • Words: 1074
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Of Mice and Men is a complex and well structured look into the life of a work man in the 1930s. The author, John Steinbeck, creates in his book a strong and compelling storyline that centres around two not so ordinary men, George and Lennie. The two workers lead as best a life as they can, travelling across the country to work on ranches bucking barley. Working conditions are poor, living conditions are worse, and some of the men the companions meet have suffered crippling injuries on the job. Society as a whole is completely inaccessible to the disabled or mentally challenged, unwilling to change to allow these people to live a free and enjoyable life. Lennie is himself a mentally challenged man, he has faced trials and troubles through his life, and recently lost his caretaker, Aunt Clara. He now travels with George, working jobs and doing his best not to get in trouble with the bosses. During the Great Depression, there was no room for weakness among the common workers, Lennie’s disability doomed him to a life of stigma and discrimination, tragedy was inevitable.

The lifestyle of a worker in the 30s was very different from the life that we take for granted today. Men had to travel into a town, find a job posting, and head out of the town again to get to the job location, hoping that someone else hadn’t already got there ahead of them. The wages paid were small, George and Lennie were each paid $50 a month for their work bucking barley, while men and women working full time jobs in the present earn more than that in a day. When the workers were paid their money, most of them would spend all of it on a night in town, mirroring workers on the oil rigs today. Working conditions were poor, the bosses supplied room and board most of the time, but both were normally crude and basic, just enough to satisfy requirements. Compensation was even worse, one character met in the book, Candy, had lost his hand on the job, he received $250 and another job sweeping bunk...

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