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OF MICE AND MEN by John Steinbeck

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1 OF MICE AND MEN by John Steinbeck

2 What is a Bindle stiff- A Bindle stiff is a single migrant laborer, generally white males, recruited to work on a temporary basis during the harvest season in the 1930’s.

3 Life of a bindle stiff Bindle=package Stiff=hobo
The term bindle stiff emerged to describe these migrant workers who carried their belongings in a bundle and moved from place to place.

4 Daily life Average pay $2.50 - $3.00 a day
Obviously this is not enough to build any type of savings As a result, these workers remained trapped in their low paying and dead end unproductive positions.

5 Ranch life Most of these bindle stiffs were farm labor that drifted from ranch to ranch living in awful accommodations picking the harvest frantically from sunrise to sunset. Ranches typically had a bunkhouse, and a cook house for the laborers. Bindle stiffs lived in the bunkhouse which they shared with other hired hands. Nights involved homemade entertainment on the confines of the ranch. They might venture into to town only 1 night a week because towns were usually too far away and they really didn’t have any transportation or money to spend anyway.

6 Of Mice and Men The novella focuses on these white single migrant workers before the arrival of the migrant families during the Great Depression. The Novella shows the men’s hopes and their feelings of hopelessness that was commonly felt by bindle stiffs. This class of people were previously ignored by society, yet they numbered over 125,000 men during this time in our history. Clearly, this large group was worthy of national attention!!!! In fact at the end of the novella, Carlson demonstrates he is a participant in a faulty society when he asks Curley, ”Now what …suppose is eatin’ them two guys.” He clearly is oblivious about love, mercy, relationships or problems currently plaguing our society at that time. So Steinbeck greatly influenced public awareness of these Migrant families and bindle stiffs’ poverty and despair with his work.

7 Hiring practices of the Depression era.
Enormous competition for jobs existed. Management could manipulate their employees. Workers were forced to accept unfair pay because many other hungry workers waited anxiously for their jobs.

8 Debt Most new arrivals on these ranches were broke.
Employers operated stores which allowed the laborers to purchase food and other necessities on credit. Thus, the laborer must work a second day to pay for the first, and so on. So the workers were continually in debt.

9 Steinbeck uses this two characters as an example of workers who were continually in debt.
George and Lennie, for instance, must stay on this ranch because they have no money. “For two bits I’d shove out of here,” says George (page 33). [This statement is made by George after he anticipates trouble with Curly]. This shows the impossible situation he and Lennie are continually trapped. Staying means trouble but leaving means starvation and hopelessness.

10 Society No government programs and welfare services existed
No regulations on businesses and institutions Families responsible to care for their elderly Racism and segregation enforced during this period in our history No laws of equality truly existed Stereotypes are found throughout this novella. Society truly believed in these stereotypes and at this time in our nation’s history which causes many real problems in society.

11 Social Problems of the Time
Social protest of inequality that existed for the: Women Handicap Race Age

12 A Woman’s Role In the early 1900’s men and women were generally restricted to separate spheres of life. Traditionalist values placed women in the home in charge of domestic duties. Men where the only ones accepted in the workplace. Most wives did not work. The common accepted feeling during this time was that married women were supported by their husbands and ought not to take jobs outside of the home that rightfully belonged to men.

13 Progressive Era Marriage remained a primary goal for most women in the Progressive Era. Some women did not feel fulfilled in this role. The accepted notion of that time was that the family’s well-being takes priority over the individual woman’s needs and interests. Often women were forced to remain in love less marriages and suffer domestic violence. Society still harshly judged the act of divorce or separation and those who undertook it.

14 Curley’s wife Curley’s wife in Of Mice and Men enjoys little freedom.
She is trapped on her husband’s ranch and not even allowed friends. In the men’s eyes, she is Curly’s property, and although she is lonely, that is her husband’s business and not theirs.

15 Curley’s wife In Of Mice and Men, Curley’s wife displays a restlessness associated with other women of her situation and status. The attitude matched those of real life farm wives studied during that time, which “were filled with complaints of isolation, and lack of friends and entertainment.” Instead of providing Curley’s wife with the excitement of a new life, her marriage has replaced her dreams of being an actress with the reality of a daily life filled with loneliness, boredom and house work. Curley’s wife represents the type of unhappiness that would continue for many married women until their role in society broadened.

16 The mentally retarded By 1915, mental retardation had caught public attention. It was considered the most significant large-scale social problem in our nation at the time. People were frightened and often at times displayed hostile attitudes towards the mentally challenged.

17 Handicapped sterilization of the retarded/ neutered
segregated them from the larger population by placing them in horrific institutions which did unregulated testing etc . No government agency regulated these institutions, so they were often horrific place where atrocities occurred

18 Laws Laws disallowing marriage between mentally challenged people were passed by thirty-nine states. Coupled with widespread sterilization, the laws were designed to limit the population of mentally retarded. This scheme, designed to keep the population genetically superior, was eventually accepted by twenty-three states- and later, Nazi Germany. They borrowed the practice from USA

19 Lennie In Of Mice and Men, Lennie portrays an exception to the rule of institutionalization for mentally disabled people. But society’s inability to accept him, as illustrated by his friend’s fear that Lennie will be murdered for his accidental crime, demonstrates a refusal of this world to accept people who are different. Lennie’s problem is that he can’t comprehend the rules that govern society. When it becomes apparent that he never will, he is killed.

20 Age Elderly Candy is portrayed as a weak and passive man relying on the pity of others. He has no where to go when he can no longer support himself His dog seems to become part of him as they have been together for so long, Candy is all alone except for his dog. This practically worthless animal is on its last legs and is doing nothing for either of them being around. The dog symbolizes Candy. Candy is aging and not really capable of much of the hard work and action that the others carry out, he’s not much use to society either. In a way, Candy is a guide for George and Lennie as he has been round the farm for quite some time, he is aware and nosy.

21 Race Blacks live oppressed and as out casts especially in the South during this period. Black Americans harbored a legitimate fear of being lynched, since of the vast majority were black. White Goddess concept Mob justice is mentioned in Of Mice and Men in an exchange between Curley’s wife and Crooks when she tells him that she could have him lynched whenever she wanted. This statement, which she refers to is quite plausible that such a fate could have befallen the black man, Crooks.

22 Law, Order, and good ole fashion Vigilante Justice.
The illegal killing of a suspect by mob violence, represents a horrifying reality of the era. Mobs reacted using violence for real or imagined crimes at their own discretion, not waiting for legal justice to take its course. All that mattered to the lynchers was their own determination of an outsider’s guilt. Such lynchings were usually representative of racial tensions in society.

23 Frontier Justice Prevails
Ranch hands belonged to remote communities that were basically immune to official law enforcement. The isolation and size of the ranches allowed frontier justice to prevail. It was left up to the farm owners themselves to maintain order over the migrant workers who arrived for the harvests. Once a decision had been made about a man’s supposed guilt, punishment would be extracted by the mob. Such mobs were capable of atrocious disfigurement of their victims. There were cases of mutilation-toes being cut off and the body doused in gasoline and then burned.

24 Crooks Crooks, the black employee who lives apart from the others.
Crooks tries to communicate the loneliness he feels as a social outcast. Crooks gets Lennie to spill his dream of a private farm, and Crooks himself begins dreaming of an escape from the sad realities of his life. Curley’s wife steps into the doorway looking for companionship and their argument culminates in her threatening Crooks with a future lynching should he not behave. Crooks resigns himself to his luckless destiny.

25 Allegorical Names Character Name: Meaning/ Source: George Milton
George= "Farmer" (Greek). Milton= From a story about "paradise lost," Poet Milton is physically blind. George is spiritually blind to the importance of his friendship with Lennie Lennie Small Lennie= "Bold lion" (Teutonic). [On page 8 and 9, Lennie pets mice. This may be an allusion to Aesop's Fable.] Small= Presents irony. He is actually big, but small-brained. Curley Typical name for "bully." [Also "Cur"? Middle English for: "to growl." inferior dog. surly or cowardly fellow.] Crooks Crooked spine. Candy "Sweet" old man

26 Themes The American Dream/ Broken Dreams: George and Lennie dream to be able to own a place of their own and be their own bosses Loneliness: e.g. Candy's only companion, his dog, is killed Friendship: George shooting Lennie to help him escape from a brutal lynching Innocence: Lennie's not understanding why he shouldn't enter Crooks' room Discrimination: e.g. Crooks, as a ranch outcast, lives in a room all alone Social protest/ Inequality : Alienation, the treatment of old and/or non-productive ones, racial, gender, handicap prejudice

27 George and Lennie Two UNCOMMON bindle stiffs
1) They share a common dream of farm ownership. AMERICAN DREAM THEME 2) Unlike the others who travel alone, these 2 have each other. FRIENDSHIP THEME Two Stupid Dogs (1993)

28 Point of View: First person third person objective/limited.
third person omniscient The point of view of the novel is clearly third person objective. We never enter a person's mind, all the characters are described by the way they act and what they say. This choice of point of view makes Of Mice and Men relatively similar to a play for the theatre.

29 "To a Mouse, on turning up her Nest with the Plough" by Robert Burns, November, 1785
But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane In proving foresight may be vain: The best laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft agley, An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain For promis'd joy. Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me! The present only toucheth thee: But, och! I backward cast my e'e On prospects drear! An' forward, tho' I canna see, I guess an' fear! Notes: 1. Burns's brother Gilbert is responsible for the story that the poem was composed while the poet was ploughing, after he had turned up a mouse's nest and had saved the mouse from the spade of the boy who was holding the horses. sleekit: sleek. 4. bickerin brattle: hurrying scamper. 5. laith: loth. 6. pattle: a small long-handled spade for removing clay from the ploughshare whyles: sometimes mawn: must daimen: occasional. icker: ear of corn. a thrave: twenty-four sheaves lave: rest silly: feeble big: build foggage: coarse grass snell: piercing But: without. house or hald: house or habitation; cf. Address to the Deil, thole: endure cranreuch: hoar-frost no thy lane: not alone a-gley: amiss. Wee, sleeket, cowrin, tim'rous beastie, Oh, what a panic's in thy breastie! Thou need na start awa sae hasty Wi' bickerin brattle! I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee Wi' murd'ring pattle! I'm truly sorry man's dominion Has broken Nature's social union, An' justifies that ill opinion Which makes thee startle At me, thy poor earth-born companion, An' fellow-mortal! I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve: What then? poor beastie, thou maun live! A daimen icker in a thrave 'S a sma' request; I'll get a blessin wi' the lave, An' never miss 't! Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin! Its silly wa's the win's are strewin! An' naething, now, to big a new ane, O' foggage green! An' bleak December's winds ensuin Baith snell an' keen! Thou saw the fields laid bare an' wast, An' weary winter comin fast, An' cozie here beneath the blast Thou thought to dwell, Till crash! the cruel coulter past Out thro' thy cell. That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble Has cost thee monie a weary nibble! Now thou's turn'd out for a' thy trouble, But house or hald, To thole the winter's sleety dribble An' cranreuch cauld!

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