How Does John Steinbeck Use Chapter Openings and Descriptions of Settings in ‘of Mice and Men’ to Reveal Character, Social and Historical Context and Narrative?

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How does John Steinbeck use chapter openings and descriptions of settings in ‘Of Mice and Men’ to reveal character, social and historical context and narrative?

John Steinbeck came from a wealthy background and was interested in the lives and work of labourers. He wrote novels about poor people who worked on the land and dreamed of a better life free from work. During the time of Steinbeck in 1930s America there was a lot of depression because of the Wall Street crash and families lost their life savings and broke up because the husbands were forced to work to bring in some money. There were over one third of the countries population unemployed and there was no dole money to fall back on, therefore in order to get money you had to earn it. Some families couldn’t afford to stay in their houses so they were forced to live in settlements called Hoovervilles. Whilst people were in the Hoovervilles they would sing depressing songs making the atmosphere even more depressing.

The story begins when George and Lennie prepare to arrive at a ranch to work and the story ends in tragedy just four days later. During the four days we learn not only about the friendship between George and Lennie but their dreams and aspirations of a better life free from work. Also we learn about their past lives, how they came to this ranch and how George looks out for and gets work for Lennie.

During the same time that John Steinbeck was writing Of Mice and Men he was writing a play, which would have affected the sentence structure of the play because plays have description of the setting and initial stage directions followed by the dialogue which should be performed. The novel Of Mice and Men looks to follow a similar structure of detailed description of the setting followed by a recount of dialogue. At the start of the chapters Steinbeck uses this structure to describe the setting

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