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 skilled novelist and author on social and political problems during his life time, including of which problems on migration, labor disputes, and unemployment.
  • The “Book of Mice and Male” was composed throughout the excellent depression, and as such imbibes the social, economic and political atmosphere of the time.
  • The condition of the state of California at that time was by no ways different from that of other western US states or that of European countries; the Great Depression was a worldwide phenomenon.
  • The Great Depression was mainly a financial force that made hardship and unemployment the important problems that federal governments focused.
  • There are numerous social concerns that can be derived from Steinbeck’s book.
  • The very first is the problem of dispute in between guy and society; this is where one of the characters (Lennie) is extremely related.
  • The 2nd is the problem of social bias; two characters in the book (Lennie and Scoundrels) faced discrimination from their co-workers.
  • The last is the concern of anomie (lack of ethical standards) for some of the characters (e.g. George, in the last scene, and Curley, his aggressiveness).
  • Political issues are typically apparent on the concern of power; for among the characters (Curley) was able to use his aggressiveness and exploitative nature to show his supremacy to his peers.
  • Financial issues are likewise apparent on the book; of which numerous can be listed.
  • With concerns to financial rights, nearly all of the characters in the book showed indications of poverty and fluctuating joblessness; such were signs of the Great Depression.
  • Land ownership was likewise a small issue in the novel; those who hold lands (1930s) have the higher chance of reducing the results of the Great Depression.
  • The purpose of John Steinbeck was to show to the basic audience the general impacts (although the link is indirect) of the Great Anxiety on the psyche of men at that time (through the characters provided in the book), and an extension to the concerns widespread at that time.
  • Bibliography

Bio of John Steinbeck

The birthdate of John Steinbeck is February 27, 1902; the time when tensions were occurring from interstate competition in SouthWestern United States (rush gold). His daddy was John Ernst II; his mother Olive Steinbeck, whom he obtained his surname (for which no biographer might 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 enter Stanford University, where he was occasionally employed to lots of jobs. He left the university without a degree.

In 1925 he went to New york city City to find task, first as a building and construction worker, 2nd as writer for the New York American. After he returned to the state of California, he composed his first novel, Cup of Gold, and later married Carol Henning. In 2 years time, he had the ability to compose two more novels, entitled The Pastures of Heaven and To A God Unidentified.

Both books got small success. Throughout the next years, he was busy gathering info on farm and labor disagreements, and statistics on hardship and unemployment. From 1935 to 1940, Steinbeck wrote a minimum of 7 novels, most of which ended up being a remarkable success in the literary world, and most handle the issues of joblessness, poverty, and other related concerns.

Books include Tortilla Flat, In Dubious Fight, Of Mice and Men, The Red Pony, Their Blood is Strong, The Grapes of Rage, and lots of others. A few of his books were equated into movies.

From 1941 to 1946, his life was focused more on his household and less on composing. His very first child was born in 1944, his 2nd in 1946. Some movies based from his books were launched during that time. From 1947 to 1957, he wrote numerous books; of which some were changed into films.

A few 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 focused on the political problems of that time. These included When There Was War, The Winter of Our Discontent, Travels 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 facility of a national center devoted to him and his writings.

Background of the Book

The “Book of Mice and Male” was composed throughout 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 seriously felt. Poverty and unemployment was the norm. Psychological conditions developing from these financial issues prevailed.

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

Throughout the Great Anxiety, they needed to fall in line to federal government food stations, much like their European brothers, to get food. It was definitely a time of vigilance and challenge (Heer 587). Individuals in the countryside need to be alert about finding work; for work or job is a limited one.

Even if a specific landed to a specific task, the assurance of high income, or wage above the subsistence level had a slim opportunity. But prior to the impacts of the Great Depression be checked out, it is popular to define and mention its history. To point out and explain its history amounts checking the unique itself. If the novel fails its background, then it does not represent truth however clear adjustment of reality itself.

The Great Anxiety was specified as the decaying element of the modern world; political and financial forces rising the person, immobilizing them, and setting them apart from the society (Toynbee 78).

Financial expert unlike historians like Toynbee defined the Great Depression as the decrease of economic output due to overproduction; and the upcoming effect is general joblessness for the working class (Keynes XX). It is by no methods that only one of the 2 sides is appropriate. It is possible that a person side is broaching causes and the other one the impacts. They might be 2 sides of the same coin.

The book is not only a literary piece; it is an exposition to the realities of life, truths that are not isolated from the effects of timely events. As I have said earlier, the Book of Mice and Male is a basic critic of the conditions of California throughout the Great Depression. The result on the individual was the chosen target for the styles in the novel, for the real individuals of that time were included in the characters of the book. It was no coincidence that such characters appeared real and not fascinated in fantasy. The novel is a description of life, genuine found life.

Social And Political Issues in the Unique

Conflict between Guy and Society

There is definitely in the book a dispute in between man and society. Take for example the case of Lennie and George. Due to the fact that of Lennie’s spontaneous habits, he dared to touch a woman’s dress. The female sobbed for raped. Due to the fact that of the occurrence, the town people drove the two out of the town, believing the girl who wept for rape.

Lennie’s dependence on George constantly put George on a bad position. Lennie was always associated with acts that can be considered not typical. The common reaction of individuals they satisfy is disgust and loathing ( Nowhere in the novel that Lennie was liked by anyone, or if there was such case, only for a little while.

This made George more distressed to get rid of Lennie, whenever the appropriate 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 “destructive” (or for that matter only Lennie), they were likewise exposed to the threat of alienation. The benefits of social combination like love, brotherhood, neighborly experience, and the like were cast to the sea. They were individuals far from the regard of their peers (colleagues).


Bias and discrimination in the unique were attributed to two characters; namely Crooks and Lennie. Prejudice in sociological terms is defined as the “an inner kind of considerable unfavorable idea directed to” (Light 154). Discrimination, on the other hand refers “an expressed action, mindset, typically coalesced with some form of argument to a particular ethnic group or political ideology” (Light 154). Bias can be equated in layman’s term as “negative sensation” and discrimination “negative action”.

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

Even George, his buddy had specific prejudice on him. He would rather see the day when they were separated than the day when people laughed at them. He said, “Made me appear God damn smart alongside of him” (Steinbeck III 40). Curley, his son’s manager had a prejudice for huge, high men.

Criminals was by no ways excused from prejudice and discrimination. Everywhere, he was labeled a black and an inferior. Curley constantly refers inferiority with blackness and was clearly not keen on Crooks. His partner, the seductive and frustrating female, did the same. At one circumstances, she pointed out that blacks are only blacks and nothing more.

A customer of a magazine observed him as “loner, having a small resting place far from the shapes of civilized life, an individual going to work for free, a dreamer, disfigured, the only one who comprehends Lennie, the character with a psychological shortage” (Harmon 3rd 12).


Anomie or lack of ethical consensus was prevalent among the characters of the story. Curley had his own set of moral requirements. The issue of superiority albeit exploitation of his peers through force was his idea of an ethical standard. Criminals and Lennie wished to pursue their dreams of owning a farm through the conventional standard (the attainment of the so-called American Dream), but society would not enable such action.

They were damaged either psychologically or physically, and for that reason had no right to reach such objective. Slim, another character in the novel, was a much appreciated individual. Everybody wished to discovered his favor. But throughout the course of the story, he was well sway by his own ethical standards. He had his own set of values opposed normally to what his peers think. He was extremely curious of why George was so upset after he had eliminated Lennie. This reaction is really not the right mindset; for shooting a long time pal may truly trigger some grief to the person who committed that act.

This blending of moral requirements is a clear phenomenon of anomie or lack of clear and unified moral requirement. The individual exposed to sets of moralities which obviously have little commonness. Completion result is that the specific either develops his own moral standard or caught in backfire (Durkheim 230).

He becomes lost in a vacuum. Suicide and mental disorder sets in. The possibility of eliminating his peers or relative ensues. The individual ends up being likewise unconcerned of the fate of other individual, and sometimes himself. These things were plainly shown 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? Plainly power is borne not out of authentic obedience; it is substantiated of perceived timidity. The resolution of dispute through power control is by no implies an overarching advantage to the power holder.

He is constrained by his ignorance and will full belief on his natural superiority. Curley is a person, who abused power for his sake; who believed that due to the fact that he had the benefits in life, he can dictate his will to others. That put him in the scenario of power addiction and overconfidence.

Economic Issues

With regards to economic rights, nearly all of the characters in the book revealed indications of hardship and changing unemployment; such were signs of the Great Anxiety. It was no coincidence that the major characters in the unique were of poor origin, that is, of low financial stature.

There were circumstances that men dreamed of the so-called “American Dream”, the dream for success and good life for Americans. The American dream most evident during the pre-World War II period or the time of the Great Depression was clearly restricted to few individuals; those who have land and those who have a clear stock of non-liquid assets such as food, cars, and houses.

The opportunities for a typical American, albeit like the minor characters in the novel, Slim, Candy, and many others is low. For Lennie and Crooks, the American Dream was but a fantasy. It did not exist in their priority set; it was restricted to their irrationalizing dreaming. Another point that ought to be made is that the characters in the book are typical of the Americans during the Great Depression.

Most Americans would change task from time to time to get the very best possible earnings, but to no get. Life during that time was terrible; just the speck of hope and dignity undaunted every men to work and live their dreams.

What is the Material of Other Novels Composed by Steinbeck?

The question,” what is the material or theme of other books written by Steinbeck?” holds hint regarding why he composed the novel “Of Mice and Male”. The majority of his books dealt with the subject of realism, that is, what is seen and discussed in life is written by pen. The problems of labor disputes, joblessness, war, discrimination, and so forth appeared of this literary technique.

The novel wished to illustrate the everyday happenings in California during The Great Anxiety, for because the author himself experienced the terrible results of the Great Depression: irregular work, cravings, and so on. It was only through the success of his books that he life ended up being good for him; that he was able to pursue the American Dream through sweat and tears.

The purpose then of the novel was to relate the basic audience to the realities of life throughout his adolescence and young the adult years. The essence of composing a brief, and grossly novel (however of real and colorful indignant farm life) is itself a symptom of his leanings towards realist writings. To show life in its whole, not lacking political, financial, and social problems, is a complete work.

The work of fiction novelists who separate life from the talk of politics or inflation or joblessness, or morality is a clear no-no to him. Life is genuine if it is communicating with the standard realities of the state, family, economy, global relations, and law. The general propensity to consider things in genuine terms will in the future offer a strong remark or benefit for the society to which it is situated.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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