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I think that the primary social setting of the farm is very significant to the themes of the novel. The most basic thematic relevance of the farm is that it represents work, something that is rare in the story's historical setting of the 1930s. It also represents physical, backbreaking work where workers are almost transient in their comings and goings. This helps to bring out how something is so rare, and yet experienced by so many. The intensely difficult nature of working on the farm contributes to another theme, one that is brought out more fully by the characterizations in the novella. The workers who are enduring what they do on the farm do so for a vision, some type of dream and some type of hope. They endure what they endure in the hope of something farther off. Perhaps, their dream is not as pronounced as Lennie's in "tending rabbits," but there is some vision that drives them to work in such difficult conditions. The pain intrinsic to this is that they are driven to work in the manner they do, but their dreams are exercises in the futility because of the economic condition in which so many are immersed and the structure of the economic system at the time period. This means that the significance of the work setting of the farm is one of futility because those who work on the farm will struggle and toil in the hopes of something that will never be fully realized. In this, the setting of the farm and the themes of the novel are evident.
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