Throughout reading John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and viewing the video The Grapes of Wrath, the reader will begin to question the presentations as to which portrayal of the Great Depression is more realistic and accurate. We all know that the Great Depression was a time of economic struggle in America, as well as a time of war in Germany. Unfortunately America has only viewed the Great Depression on a bit picture basis, not having the chance to see the lives of one or a few of Americans until we begin to read of the events that went on during the Depression.
America has the privilege of seeing the lives of two American families: the Joad Family of The Grapes of Wrath and a pair of misfit friends, George and Lennie, shown in Of Mice and Men. While analyzing the two families the reader begins to wonder which group did a better job showing America the real view of the Great Depression. The basic conclusions is that The Grapes of Wrath is more realistic based on three main themes of the stories: Job situation, relationships with other people, and the family’s goals in ending the Great Depression.
In Of Mice and Men, George and Lennie have a steady job for the most part. Although their work isn’t always the greatest, they always have a source of income and housing as well as the knowledge that if they continued to do good work that they would have a job for as long as they would stay. They know this because of a man they meet at their latest job, named Candy. Candy has been working at the farm for a very long time. An obvious intimation that work at the farm is available for long lengths of time. As far as George and Lennie can see they are set for now.
They can’t imagine a better way to live during the depression than with decent wages, housing, and a steady flow of work. George and Lennie’s situation during the Great Depression is also very easy because they have friends during the depression. Anywhere the two of them work not only do they have each other, but easily make friends at their job sites. The Great Depression is a time when one would need good friends to help you make it through the rough times. George and Lennie meet Slim and Candy at their job, and it seems to help them survive the road ahead.
The two even befriend a black man, Crooks. “What you doin’ in Crooks’ room. you hadn’t ought to be in here. ” Crooks nodded. “I told’ em, but they come in anyways. ” “Well, why’n’t you kick em out? ” “I di’n’t care much,” said Crooks. “Lennie’s a nice fella. ” (Page 82) Furthermore, George and Lennie have many plans for the time to come after the Great Depression, which includes their newfound friends. Thus, not only do they make friends, but also their new friendships are key to surviving the hard times.
George and Lennie have an amazingly easy time making friends quickly with the people around them, most likely because of their striking resemblances in personality and goals. George and Lennie not only strive to make it through the depression, but to make it through well. The two have plans for after the depression is over. Their plan to “Live off the fatta land,” is not just a dream to them, but a very realistic goal. “Well, we’ll have a big vegetable patch and a rabbit hutch and chickens.
And when it ains in the winter, we’ll just say the hell with goin’ to work, and we’ll build up a fire in the stove and set around it an’ listen to the rain comin’ down on the roof-Nuts! ” (pages 14&15) They are working hard to get enough money to make a down payment on their future house, and they are also making plans bout how to live and prosper in their new land. Obviously George and Lennie can attribute their survival to their job situation, relationships with other people, and their goals upon the end of the Great Depression.
Continuing on the analyzation of which portrayal is better, looking deeper into these three themes leads the reader to realize that The Grapes of Wrath includes not only a superb storyline, but also a better depiction of the Great Depression. While the Joads are trying hard to survive the depression, they are always on the road, traveling from one place to another, with no promises of where they will sleep that night, or whether or not they will even have a meal. Since the Joads are constantly traveling, they also do not have any work.
Their false sense of hope is placed in a handbill they receive about a job, which ends up being a lie. The Joads endure living in tents wherever they could find land to stay on, and t times their car served as a makeshift living place, with even worse conditions than the tent. The unstable living conditions prove that the Joads have a very tough time making it through the Depression, furthermore, those conditions don’t even include the lack of food, comfort and relationships with other people. Not only do the Joads have a hard enough time not getting on each other’s nerves, they also cannot make friends because they travel so much.
Tome Joad meets one friend on the road that he knew before the journey. Joad and Casey become friends for a short while during the Joad family’s trek across America. As if the Joads don’t have a hard enough time dealing with no food, no friends, no job, but they are also ran out of the camps they can find. Many of their camps are burned down, or they are threatened so in order to save their lives they need to run away. The Joads choose to live their lives day by day in hopes that they will wake up one morning and everything will be peachy again.
Because of this they have no goals except to get enough food to eat at the next meal. Their only dream is to survive the depression. Therefore their living conditions are terrible, but their mental condition is also suffering. The Joads have a hard journey and the mental state they are in doesn’t lighten the load. By not having a steady job, good relationships with people other than family, and a goal in ending the Great Depression the Joad family has a very hard time surviving, which proves to the reader that the more realistic portrayal of the Great Depression is The Grapes of Wrath.
The differences between Steinbeck’s two depictions are not only obvious, although somewhat false, it shows two very different sides of the Great Depression. Neither one is always true to ever Great Depression story, but The Grapes of Wrath shows the reader the realistic side of the majority of America’s dealings with the Great Depression. Therefore the reader will conclude that The Grapes of Wrath depicts the Great Depression better than the story in Of Mice and Men for the inclusive details.