Social, Economic and Political Issues In the Novel Of Mice and Men

Social, Economic and Political Issues In the Novel Of Mice and Men


  • John Steinbeck is a well-versed novelist and author on social and political problems throughout his life time, including of which problems on migration, labor disputes, and unemployment.
  • The “Book of Mice and Guy” was composed throughout the terrific depression, and as such imbibes the social, economic and political environment of the time.
  • The condition of the state of California at that time was by no methods different from that of other western US states or that of European countries; the Great Depression was an international phenomenon.
  • The Great Depression was predominantly an economic force that made poverty and joblessness the crucial problems that governments focused.
  • There are numerous social issues that can be stemmed from Steinbeck’s book.
  • The first is the concern of conflict between man and society; this is where among the characters (Lennie) is extremely related.
  • The second is the issue of social bias; 2 characters in the book (Lennie and Crooks) faced discrimination from their co-workers.
  • The last is the problem of anomie (lack of ethical standards) for some of the characters (e.g. George, in the last scene, and Curley, his aggressiveness).
  • Political problems are usually obvious on the problem of power; for one of the characters (Curley) had the ability to use his aggressiveness and exploitative nature to reveal his supremacy to his peers.
  • Economic problems are likewise evident on the book; of which several can be listed.
  • With concerns to economic rights, almost all of the characters in the book revealed signs of poverty and varying joblessness; such were signs of the Great Depression.
  • Land ownership was also a small issue in the book; those who hold lands (1930s) have the higher possibility of alleviating the impacts of the Great Anxiety.
  • The purpose of John Steinbeck was to reveal to the basic audience the basic results (although the link is indirect) of the Great Depression on the mind of guys at that time (through the characters presented in the book), and an extension to the concerns common at that time.
  • Bibliography

Bio of John Steinbeck

The birthdate of John Steinbeck is February 27, 1902; the time when stress were arising from interstate competitors in SouthWestern United States (rush gold). His father was John Ernst II; his mother Olive Steinbeck, whom he obtained his surname (for which no biographer could discuss the “why” of the story).

In 1915, he attended highschool (up till 1919). In the very same year of his graduation from highschool, he took actions to go into Stanford University, where he was regularly employed to many tasks. He left the university without a degree.

In 1925 he went to New york city City to discover task, initially as a construction worker, second as author for the New York American. After he returned to the state of California, he composed his first book, Cup of Gold, and later on married Carol Henning. In two years time, he had the ability to write 2 more novels, entitled The Pastures of Paradise and To A God Unidentified.

Both books got nominal success. During the next years, he was busy collecting details on farm and labor disagreements, and data on poverty and joblessness. From 1935 to 1940, Steinbeck composed a minimum of 7 novels, most of which became a remarkable success in the literary world, and many deals with the problems of joblessness, hardship, and other related issues.

Novels consist of Tortilla Flat, In Suspicious Fight, Of Mice and Guy, The Red Pony, Their Blood is Strong, The Grapes of Rage, and numerous others. Some of his novels were translated into movies.

From 1941 to 1946, his life was focused more on his household and less on composing. His first boy was born in 1944, his 2nd in 1946. Some movies based from his books were launched throughout that time. From 1947 to 1957, he wrote several novels; of which some were transformed into movies.

Some of which are as follows: The Stubborn Bus, A Russian Journal, Burning Bright, The Log from the Sea of Cortez, Sweet Thursday, and numerous others. From 1958 to 1967, his novels were concentrated on the political issues of that time. These included When There Was War, The Winter Season of Our Discontent, Journeys With Charley, America and Americans, and lots of others.

In December 20, 1968, he passed away of arteriosclerosis. A wave of awards followed after his death, including the establishment of a national center committed to him and his writings.

Background of the Book

The “Book of Mice and Guy” was written during the excellent depression, and as such imbibes the social, economic and political atmosphere of the time. In California, the impacts of the Great Anxiety were significantly felt. Hardship and joblessness was the standard. Mental conditions developing from these financial issues prevailed.

It was as if the land was devastated since food was scarce. People needed to fall in line just to get food. It was a typical European phenomenon, but never ever a concerting one. People in the United States throughout the post-World War I (1920s) were eager to get the very best possible in the marketplace.

During the Great Anxiety, they needed to fall in line to federal government food stations, much like their European bros, to get food. It was certainly a time of vigilance and hardship (Heer 587). Individuals in the countryside need to be watchful about discovering work; for work or job is a scarce one.

Even if a private landed to a particular job, the guarantee of high salary, or income above the subsistence level had a slim chance. However before the results of the Great Depression be checked out, it is traditional to define and mention its history. To mention and explain its history is tantamount to proofreading the novel itself. If the novel fails its background, then it does not represent reality however clear manipulation of truth itself.

The Great Depression was defined as the decaying component of the contemporary world; political and financial forces rising the individual, incapacitating them, and setting them apart from the society (Toynbee 78).

Financial expert unlike historians like Toynbee specified the Great Anxiety as the reduction of economic output due to overproduction; and the upcoming effect is basic unemployment for the working class (Keynes XX). It is by no ways that only one of the 2 sides is correct. It is possible that a person side is talking of causes and the other one the results. They might be two sides of the same coin.

The book is not only a literary piece; it is an exposition to the truths of life, realities that are not isolated from the impacts of timely occasions. As I have actually stated previously, the Book of Mice and Men is a general critic of the conditions of California throughout the Great Anxiety. The effect on the individual was the preferred target for the styles in the unique, for the real people of that time were incorporated in the characters of the novel. It was no coincidence that such characters appeared genuine and not fascinated in dream. The book is a description of life, genuine placed life.

Social And Political Issues in the Unique

Dispute between Male and Society

There is definitely in the book a conflict between guy and society. Consider example the case of Lennie and George. Due to the fact that of Lennie’s impulsive habits, he dared to touch a female’s gown. The woman cried for raped. Because of the occurrence, the town people drove the 2 out of the town, believing the woman who cried for rape.

Lennie’s dependence on George constantly put George on a bad position. Lennie was constantly associated with acts that can be thought about not typical. The common response of the people they satisfy is disgust and loathing ( Nowhere in the book that Lennie resembled by anybody, or if there was such case, just for a short while.

This made George more anxious to get rid of Lennie, whenever the opportune time comes. The opposing perfects of society which of the impulsive of Lennie put the two individuals in a bad light. Not only were they identified as “devastating” (or for that matter just Lennie), they were likewise exposed to the threat of alienation. The advantages of social combination like love, brotherhood, neighborly ordeal, and so forth were cast to the sea. They were individuals far from the regard of their peers (colleagues).


Bias and discrimination in the unique were credited to two characters; namely Crooks and Lennie. Prejudice in sociological terms is specified as the “an inner form of substantial negative thought directed to” (Light 154). Discrimination, on the other hand refers “an expressed action, mindset, frequently coalesced with some form of argument to a specific ethnic group or political ideology” (Light 154). Bias can be equated in layperson’s term as “negative sensation” and discrimination “unfavorable reaction”.

In the novel, Lennie faced both prejudice and discrimination both his peers and the townspeople. His stature always provoked ingrained negative sensations towards him. The unique explained him as heavy and high “… and he walked greatly, dragging his feet a little, the method a bear drags his paws”(Steinbeck, I 2).

Even George, his pal had specific prejudice on him. He would rather see the day when they were separated than the day when individuals made fun of them. He stated, “Made me appear God damn smart alongside of him” (Steinbeck III 40). Curley, his child’s boss had a prejudice for huge, high guys.

Scoundrels was by no ways exempted from bias and discrimination. All over, he was identified a black and an inferior. Curley constantly refers inferiority with blackness and was clearly not fond of Crooks. His spouse, the sexy and problematic woman, did the very same. At one circumstances, she mentioned that blacks are just blacks and nothing more.

A reviewer of a publication saw him as “loner, having a little resting location far from the contours of civilized life, a person going to work for totally free, a dreamer, injured, the only one who understands Lennie, the character with a psychological deficiency” (Harmon 3rd 12).


Anomie or absence of moral agreement prevailed amongst the characters of the story. Curley had his own set of moral standards. The concern of supremacy albeit exploitation of his peers through force was his concept of a moral requirement. Crooks and Lennie wanted to pursue their imagine owning a farm through the conventional requirement (the attainment of the so-called American Dream), however society would not permit such action.

They were injured either mentally or physically, and for that reason had no right to reach such objective. Slim, another character in the novel, was a much respected person. Everybody wanted to discovered his favor. However throughout the course of the story, he was well sway by his own moral standards. He had his own set of values opposed usually to what his peers believe. He was extremely curious of why George was so upset after he had eliminated Lennie. This response is really not the best mindset; for shooting a longtime pal might truly cause some grief to the individual who dedicated that act.

This blending of moral standards is a clear phenomenon of anomie or lack of clear and unified moral standard. The specific exposed to sets of moralities which apparently have little commonality. The end result is that the specific either establishes his own moral standard or captured in backfire (Durkheim 230).

He becomes lost in a vacuum. Suicide and mental illness sets in. The possibility of killing his peers or relative ensues. The private ends up being also unconcerned of the fate of other person, and in some cases himself. These things were clearly displayed in the novel.

Issue of Power

Curley was the one in charge, even if he was just the one in charge kid what hampers him from commanding a set of desperate workers? Clearly power is borne not out of genuine obedience; it is substantiated of viewed timidity. The resolution of dispute through power adjustment is by no means an overarching benefit to the power holder.

He is constrained by his ignorance and will full belief on his inherent superiority. Curley is a person, who abused power for his sake; who thought that because he had the advantages in life, he can dictate his will to others. That put him in the situation of power dependency and overconfidence.

Economic Issues

With regards to economic rights, practically all of the characters in the book revealed signs of poverty and varying joblessness; such were indications of the Great Depression. It was no coincidence that the major characters in the novel were of poor origin, that is, of low financial stature.

There were instances that guys dreamed of the so-called “American Dream”, the dream for prosperity and great life for Americans. The American dream most apparent during the pre-World War II duration or the time of the Great Depression was plainly restricted to couple of individuals; those who have land and those who have a clear stock of non-liquid possessions such as food, cars, and homes.

The chances for an average American, albeit like the minor characters in the book, Slim, Sweet, and lots of others is low. For Lennie and Crooks, the American Dream was but a dream. It did not exist in their priority set; it was limited to their irrationalizing dreaming. Another point that must be made is that the characters in the novel are typical of the Americans during the Great Anxiety.

The majority of Americans would alter job from time to time to get the best possible earnings, but to no get. Life during that time was harsh; just the speck of hope and dignity undaunted every men to work and live their dreams.

What is the Material of Other Books Composed by Steinbeck?

The question,” what is the material or theme of other books written by Steinbeck?” holds clue as to why he wrote the unique “Of Mice and Men”. Most of his books dealt with the subject of realism, that is, what is seen and debated in life is written by pen. The problems of labor disputes, unemployment, war, discrimination, and so on appeared of this literary approach.

The novel wished to depict the daily happenings in California throughout The Great Depression, for because the author himself experienced the destructive effects of the Great Depression: irregular employment, hunger, and the like. It was only through the success of his novels that he life became great for him; that he had the ability to pursue the American Dream through sweat and tears.

The function then of the book was to relate the basic audience to the facts of life throughout his teenage years and young adulthood. The essence of writing a short, and grossly unique (but of real and colorful indignant farm life) is itself a manifestation of his leanings towards realist writings. To show life in its totality, not devoid of political, economic, and social concerns, is a complete work.

The work of fiction authors who separate life from the talk of politics or inflation or unemployment, or morality is a clear no-no to him. Life is genuine if it is engaging with the fundamental truths of the state, household, economy, international relations, and law. The general tendency to think about things in real terms will in the future provide a strong remark or benefit for the society to which it is situated.


Durkheim, Emile. The Division of Labour in Society. Paris: University of Paris, 1st ed, 1893.

Harmon, Robert. John Steinbeck. AmericanLiterature, November Problem, 1974.

Heer, Friedrich. History of the West. 2nd ed. London: London Publishing House, 1956.

Keynes, John Maynard. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Cash. England: Macmillan Cambridge University Press, Royal Economic Society in 1936.

Light, Donald. Sociology. New Jersey: MacMillan Publisher’s, 1989.

Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Guy. New York City: Covici Friede, 1937.

Toynbee, Arnold. A Research study of History. (Abridged) Oxford University Press, 1987).