Read OMAM CH. 1 & answer the following questions (2-3 sentences/question):
1. Characterize Lennie (2-3words).
2. Characterize George (2-3 words).
3. Where are George and Lennie going and what does George tell Lennie to do when they get there?
4. What does George imply happened at their previous stop in Weed?
5. Who used to give Lennie mice and why did she stop giving him mice?
6. What is George and Lennie's dream?
7. Where does George tell Lennie to go if there is trouble? What literary element do you think this is?
NOTES FROM CLASS (in case anyone needs to catch up):
11/01/17 – INTRO TO ‘OMAM’
Of Mice and Men was written by John Steinbeck in 1937; the book takes place during the Great Depression in California, which, besides bearing the repercussions of the GD, also had to deal with a massive Western migration.
People moved West from the Midwest in an attempt to find gainful employment and, in many cases, to avoid the hardships of the Dust Bowl.
• Migratory labor was regarded as a low form of work and was often performed by marginalized members of a society – the poor, immigrants, and racial minorities (at the time).
• Because of this fact of the time, migrant workers were found near the bottom of the socioeconomic scale; in other words, they were regarded as being of a lower class.
• During the 1920s, there were approx. two million migrant farm workers; by 1940s, about one million; by 1970s, only about 200,000 – the decreases are attributed to increased use of machines, which lowered the need for these types of workers. That number, however, swelled in the 2000s to approximately 800,000. How we interpret this is that in times of economic depression when jobs are scarce, many turn to migrant work as it is the only available job. An increase in illegal immigration can also be attributed to the swell in migrant worker population.
• Why are we taking so many notes on migrant workers? Our protagonists in OMAM Lennie and George are both migrant workers with a dream to one day own their own land and not be beholden to any owner; they wanted to raise their own crops and work for themselves.
• Overall, the outlook for migrant workers was bleak – their education level, on average, was significantly lower than the national norm.
• Their health was also significantly affected by their work with pesticides and extreme exposures to the elements. Their average life expectancy was lower than the national average.
• Their wages were also significantly below what would be considered a “livable wage.”
The Dust Bowl:
• 1930s (1932) – the failure of crops and the blight of livestock attributed to a poor economy + an overworked soil that could no longer bear crops.
• B/w 1932-3 there were a total of 62 Dust Bowls – Region from Texas to Nebraska (large swath of Middle America).
• Worsened the Great Depression b/c it led to farmers not being able to grow their crops, which they sold for $$$, which they then used to pay their bills – can’t pay bills, you lose your home and then have to pack up and head West to search for work.
• WHY DID THIS HAPPEN???? The government sought to populate a seemingly unpopulated area of the country by offering them cheap land as an incentive to move. PROBLEM: They don’t know how to farm properly, so this led to an overworking of the land, which left the soil infertile.
• Infertile soil, lacking in necessary nutrients, becomes dry and is easily swept up by the wind.
• Other factors – changes in regional climate b/c the inhabitants of these areas had never seen drought or wind like this.
• Started in 1929; lasted until about 1939
• The GD is a reaction to the period before – Roaring ‘20s, which was a time of invention and over-speculation and spending beyond one’s means.
• With the introduction of such luxury items – dishwasher, toaster, radio, vacuum, cars (mass produced) – people start buying what they cannot afford – leads to the intro of credit…
English Assignments 7-12
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