1) Attention grabber: definition of the Great Depression (The Great Depression is a worldwide economical recession that occurred during the decade preceding World War II. In John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men, the characters of George and Lennie are trying to improve their lives during that period of time.)
2) Thesis statement: The said novel appears to be a metaphor for people’s pursuit of happiness during the Great Depression through the:
- Lack of jobs in the cities/the Dust Bowl
- Life on the road
- Individual struggle for survival
- Unreachable dreams
1) Topic sentence: First of all, George and Lennie work on ranches rather than in the cities.
Details: This section contains an explanation of people’s situation during Great Depression and the perpetual vicious circle of production, as well as the link with the characters. It contrasts they way people lived in the cities and in the rural regions.
Summary: In fact, because of the precariousness of the working conditions, finding an alternative source of income is a necessity in order to be happy.
2) Topic sentence: Secondly, in the 1930s, people are leaving their homes and head towards a new place, hoping to improve their lives.
Details: This section will discuss the motivations behind the migrations (no jobs and Dust Bowl) and will make a link with Lennie’s situation that forces the characters to live on the road (example of the girl’s dress in Weed).
Quote: "The guys in Weed start a party out to lynch Lennie. [...] An’ that night we scrammed outa there.”
Summary: In brief, just like the migrant workers, the two protagonists live on the road, running after a better life.
3) Topic sentence: Then, during that period of time, it is so difficult to survive, that people cannot afford caring for the other ones too; it’s everyone for themselves.
Details: This section describes how survival is predominant, and how it’s everyone for themselves. It includes a link with the characters of Of Mice and Men (except for George and Lennie). Soledad, the city where they are, means solitude in Spanish. Two guys who travel together seems suspect to the characters who were already working at the ranch.
Summary: Briefly, during that period of time, it was so difficult to survive, that people could not afford caring for the other ones too.
4)Topic sentence: Finally, in Of Mice and Men and during the Great Depression, the only things that people can hold on to are their dreams.
Details: This section will include a comparison between the American dream and Lennie’s dream of having their own farm. Both of them hide the same motives: hope, something to cling onto. Its inaccessibility will be discussed: the American dream as well as the farm (Crook’s quote). The other characters’ dreams will be enumerated and the way they are impossible will be described.
Quotes:1) “you won’t get no land. I seen too many guys with land in their head. They never get none under their hand.”
2) “Go on, George! Tell about what we’re gonna have in the garden and about the rabbits in the cages and about the rain in the winter and the stove, and how thick the cream is on the milk like you can hardly cut it. Tell about that, George.”
Summary: In summary, hope could only be found in people’s aspirations, even though they can never be fulfilled.
1) Summary: In conclusion, people’s struggles during their reach for happiness is metaphorically shown in Of Mice and Men by the means of the characters who are perpetually searching for a job, living on the road, self-centered and trying to achieve the impossible American dream.
2) Opening: Consider it fortunate or not, it is indeed the Second World War that put the economy back on its feet and stimulated the employment.
1) CLIFFS NOTES. Of Mice and Men, [online], [http://www.cliffsnotes.com/study_guide/literature/Of-Mice-and-Men-Of-Mice-and-Men-at-a-Glance.id-101.html], (Consulted on November 26th, 2011).
2) E NOTES. Of Mice and Men, [online], [http://www.enotes.com/of-mice-and-men], (Consulted on November 26th, 2011).
3) WOODLAWNHS. The Great Depression, [online], [http://woodlawnhs.bcps.org/greatdepression.html], (Consulted on November 26th, 2011).