What is the setting of Of Mice and Men and its significance?

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The main physical setting of Of Mice and Men is a ranch near Soledad in Northern California. The story begins and ends in a picturesque wooded area south of Soledad. The socioeconomic setting, which is important to the story, is the 1930s and the grim realities of poverty.

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There are three important broad settings in Of Mice and Men: the natural world outside the ranch, the ranch, and the dreamscape George creates of the farm he and Lennie will buy and live on.

The natural world is the liminal or border space between the two poles of the real and ideal represented by the ranch and the farm. Here in nature, as the novel opens and ends, George and Lennie are able to find an imperfect measure of freedom from their oppressive society. They enjoy in the beginning sitting by a pond—sharing a can of baked beans before they face seeking employment on the ranch below. At the end, the natural setting offers George a temporary safe spot where he can save Lennie from torture by killing him quickly and painlessly.

The ranch represents the dangerous world of capitalism, and its description underscores the harshness of the rancher's lives. They must all live together in a bunkhouse which offers only the bare necessities. Anyone—like the disliked Curley—can enter at any time, so there is also no privacy. It is a place that makes George uneasy. Furthermore, in Crooks's lean-to by the barn, we see how a black man is segregated and treated like an animal, though Crooks fights back by having books. The dreamscape of the idealized farm, with it animals and the opportunity to live off the fat of the land while excluding dangerous people, is the Utopic alternative to the harsh life of the ranch.

Steinbeck wishes to show that the harsh capitalist system of the 1930s, represented by the ranch, used people up as widgets—with little care for them as human beings—and was a dangerous place. That danger seeps into the surrounding countryside and can only be escaped in a dream world setting.

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The different settings serve as the backdrop to amplify the characterizations in Of Mice and Men.

The setting of the the Salinas River bank that opens and closes the novella is extremely important.  This is where we learn of the dreams that George and Lennie share.  It is also where we understand the power of hope that drives both men.  In the second and third chapters, the setting of the bunkhouse is where we learn more of the lives of the migrant workers who toil on the ranch. This setting helps us gain more insight into the people who move from place to place in order to find work in the 1930s.  We learn about how Candy lost his arm and the pain he experiences in losing his dog, as well as small characters's lives like Bill Tenner who used to work a cultivator and then moved on from the ranch. 

The setting is also important when the action shifts to Crooks's quarters.  The pain of segregation is explored when Lennie enters Crooks's room.  At this instant, the setting shows how racial discrimination enhanced the economic hardship of the 1930s.  Finally, the setting of the barn is essential to Of Mice and Men.  It is here where Curley's wife dies, and where George and Lennie eventually learn that their dreams for the future lie in ruins.  In these examples, Steinbeck uses different settings to amplify the characters' experiences.

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The setting is Salinas Valley in California during the Great Depression. Salinas Valley was the home of many large farms during the Depression. This is important because large farms employed large numbers of workers, often up to hundreds. Farm workers with no steady employment, known as migrant workers because they traveled to find work, would head to these communities. George and Lennie are migrant farm workers, and so it is logical that Salinas Valley would be their destination.

The reason that Steinbeck makes them migrant farm workers is because these type of men were perfect highlight the lonliness and alienation created by the Depression. These men had no home, no place and few belongings to call their own. They were constantly at the mercy of the farmers, and of the weather - in bad conditions, they could be homeless again in moments. Besides being homeless, they would quickly be friendless. It was impossible to develop lasting relationships in this transient lifestyle.

This is why George and Lennie—and, later, Candy—dream about getting a home with a little vegetable garden. They don't want much, they just want to be settled and to have permanancy in their lives.

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Mice and Men, the great novel by John Steinbeck, takes place in the 1930's during The Great Depression. Knowing the exact setting for the novel is important to understand the journey Lennie and George go through. During the Depression, unemployment was at the highest it has ever been in the United States. Furthermore, with unemployment high and the demand for labor low, wages were also very low. That left many workers looking for any type of work, regardless of wage and benefits.

With Lennie and George looking for work and just to survive the Depression and continue to live their lives, their journey was told through the understanding of why the Great Depression was so important. Understanding what they, and the rest of the country, had to go through, is essential for any reader's comprehension for this American classic novel.

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Interestingly, the Salinas Valley which is known as "America's Salad Bowl" is an extremely fertile area and even has an extended period of time in which crops can be grown compared to northern regions of California.  Then, in the midst of all this fertile land with abounding life, there is the setting of "Of Mice and Men": a "few miles south of Soledad."  The word soledad in Spanish means "solitude."  Of course, Steinbeck chose this location purposefully to underscore the aloneness of George and Lennie and the other men working as itinerant workers in such an area of rich land in the 1930s.

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Most of "Of Mice and Men" takes place on and about a ranch in the Salinas Valley, near the town of Soledad, south of San Francisco. The story begins and ends at a clearing near a pool about a quarter of a mile from the ranch, and spans only four days. No specific time frame is given, though it seems fairly clear that the book is set during the Great Depression of the 1930s; yet though the book was published in 1937, Steinbeck does not allude to the Depression in the novel.

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We know setting to mean where the story takes place. In Of Mice and Men, the action happens at the ranch and the land surround it. We should also remember that time and geographic location are also important elements of setting. Aside from the specific locations, such as Crooks' room, the general time period and part of the world can tell us important information.

A specific date is not given, but the story takes place during the 1930s (and it was published in 1937). The ranch is located in the Salinas Valley, south of Soledad, California. This is important because it tells us the story is set during America's Great Depression. This information is important to the context of the story. The economic turmoil left many people poor and out of work. Many traveled west in search of work and a better life.

The setting is important because it gives us context for the story. This helps us understand what the characters were going through.

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Describe the setting of Of Mice and Men.

I would argue that there are two types of settings that are important in John Steinbeck's classic work. The first in the physical setting in which the story takes place, and the second is the socioeconomic setting or climate in which the story is set.

The physical setting of the majority of the story is a ranch south of Soledad, which is in Northern California. The living conditions at the ranch are rough and rustic, with room for neither personal space nor luxury. The structures on the ranch that are most discussed in the story include a bunk house, where George, Lennie, and the other workers sleep, and a barn.

The bunk house is introduced as "a long, rectangular building." There are eight bunks in the bunk house, each with an apple box nailed to the wall above it for the rancher who sleeps there to store his scant possessions.

The barn has "a little shed" called the harness room off to one side. It is in the barn that Lennie finds the puppies that will later be the start of all the trouble for him. The barn is quiet and secluded, which creates a conducive setting for the tragedies that take place in the second half of the story.

The other physical setting in the story is a picturesque area "a few miles south of Soledad" where the story starts and ends. In the beginning, it seems like a peaceful, idyllic place, where "rabbits come out of the brush" and "deer [come] to drink in the dark." At the end, these tranquil surroundings become the site of George's mercy killing of Lennie. It is the place where the two men share their last conversation, in which George encourages Lennie to imagine the beautiful future the pair have discussed. Sadly, the much-anticipated ranch of their own, where Lennie gets to tend the rabbits, never proves to be the setting of either Lennie's story or George's.

In terms of socioeconomic setting, this novel is set during the 1930s, which was a time of rife poverty and desperation. During this time, many American men found themselves without jobs, and those who did have work regularly had to endure wage cuts and part-time hours. This grim landscape goes a long way to explain how tough things were for George and why his ultimate dream was to have his own ranch. Lennie, being simple-minded, was largely sheltered from these harsh truths. In a world in which so many had to wonder where their next paycheck was coming from, a friendship like the one shared between George and Lennie is rare, even though George sticks with Lennie partly out of a sense of obligation.

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Describe the setting of Of Mice and Men.

Of Mice and Men takes place over the course of three days in the Salinas Valley on the Central Coast of California during the 1930s. This was during the Great Depression, the largest financial disaster in the history of the United States. Millions of Americans were unemployed and, like Lennie and George, desperate to find any work they could.

All the action of this story takes place in a rather confined space. In fact, there are only four locations. The story begins and ends along a wooded stretch of the Salinas River. This is where George and Lennie discuss their dream of owning their own land. It is also where George tells Lennie to return to if things go wrong. This leads to the tragic outcome at the story's conclusion.

In between, George and Lennie find themselves on a ranch a short distance away. Much of the time on the ranch is spent in the bunkhouse where all the ranch hands except Crooks live. Being Black, Crooks is forced to live apart in his own small room, where he and Lennie have an illuminating exchange about racial discrimination and loneliness. Near the end of the book, Lennie commits a fateful mistake in the ranch's barn.

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Describe the setting of Of Mice and Men.

The first page of the novel describes the peaceful area, south of Soledad (California), where the Salinas River forms a small pool. The scene is as tranquil as can be until George and Lennie make their way to the pool. 

And then from the direction of the state highway came the sound of footsteps on crisp sycamore leaves. The rabbits hurried noiselessly for cover. A stilted heron labored up into the air and pounded down river. For a moment the place was lifeless, and then two men emerged from the path and came into the opening by the green pool. 

George tells Lennie to return to this peaceful setting if and when he gets into trouble. So, it is a safe haven. However, note the subtle way Steinbeck indicates how the two men (Lennie in particular) innocently disrupt the tranquility at the beginning of the story. This foreshadows the possibility that Lennie might innocently disrupt something later on. 

Crooks' room is significant for how humble and simple it is. In a novel about outcasts (Lennie, Candy, and Curley's wife in particular) Crooks stands out as an outcast who is part of the ranch life but segregated. His room is not in the bunk house. He lives separate from the other workers: 

Crooks’ bunk was a long box filled with straw, on which his blankets were flung. On the wall by the window there were pegs on which hung broken harness in process of being mended; strips of new leather; and under the window itself a little bench for leather-working tools, curved knives and needles and balls of linen thread, and a small hand riveter. 

Crooks basically lives in a tool shed. The bunk house is not much better. These settings show the rugged life of these ranch workers during the Great Depression. The bunk house is very simple, an efficient set up for this kind of work. Steinbeck uses a simile to give the reader a poetic, yet dingy description: 

At about ten o’clock in the morning the sun threw a bright dust-laden bar through one of the side windows, and in and out of the beam flies shot like rushing stars

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Describe the setting of Of Mice and Men.

John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men has as its setting the countryside towards the west coast of California. The book opens near the town of Soledad, which is located between Los Angeles and San Jose. George and Lennie have fled from Weed, California, some 400 miles north of Soledad.

George and Lennie make their way to a barley farm near Soledad to work. Much of the rest of the book takes place there at the farm in the bunk house, which is "a long, rectangular building" with "whitewashed" walls and an "unpainted" floor. The bunk house has a number of places for simple beds, a stove, and a card table.

Of course, the farm has other buildings, such as the main house, a barn, and the room of Crooks the stable buck. His bed seems to be a manger ("a long box filled with straw"). This neat and tidy room is connected to the barn. Chapter 4 has Crooks' room as its setting.

In Chapter 5, the chapter in which Lennie accidentally kills Curley's wife, the action is set in the farm's barn.

The book's final chapter returns to the setting at the opening of the book, as this George finds Lennie hiding in the brush near the Salinas River, just as George had told him to do at the first of the book.

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In Of Mice and Men, how is the setting presented in the opening extract?

In the opening extract, Steinbeck presents an idyllic, natural setting. He describes the "warm" and "twinkling" water of the Salinas River, for example, and the extensive, tree-lined valley. Through his use of sensory imagery, the reader can immerse themselves in this picturesque setting.

In addition, Steinbeck also describes the animals who frequent this area. There are rabbits, raccoons, dogs, and deer, all of which come to drink at the river. Note that there are no people here: this setting is home only to flora and fauna.

This opening paragraph, therefore, presents the setting as being peaceful and tranquil. That is, until the arrival of George and Lennie who disturb the natural elements of the scene. The rabbits quickly shuffle away, for instance, as the two men enter.

By using George and Lennie as a disturbance to this tranquil scene, Steinbeck is foreshadowing the disturbance that the two men will cause at the new ranch when Lennie accidentally kills Curley's Wife.

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In Of Mice and Men, how is the setting presented in the opening extract?

The setting is a pool stemming from the Salinas River valley. The scene depicted is peaceful. Prior to the entrance of George and Lennie, the scene is also teeming with wildlife. When George and Lennie arrive, the animals scurry for cover.

The rabbits hurried noiselessly for cover. A stilted heron labored up into the air and pounded down river. For a moment the place was lifeless, and then the two men emerged form the path and came into the opening by the green pool.

George tells Lennie to return to this spot if any trouble occurs at the next job. This place is their refuge or sanctuary. It is, in fact, the one place in the entire story where they (namely Lennie) have no trouble fitting in: in the wild, in nature, away from others.

As chapter 1 draws to a close, signs of animal life return, including a carp, a dove, and coyotes. The peaceful setting combined with the natural, yet wild, animal life gives the two travelers a naturally peaceful refuge. This "natural wild" is also symbolic of Lennie himself who has good intentions and is generally peaceful, but when frightened, he can act like a wild animal.

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How does Steinbeck present or use setting in Of Mice and Men?

Steinbeck presents three settings in this novella. The first is the pool of water near the Salinas River, the place where the novel begins and ends. In this peaceful and natural setting of trails, water, and willow trees, George and Lennie achieve a respite from the grinding work of being itinerant ranch hands. This is a liminal space—not a dream world, exactly, but still removed from the harshest elements of civilization.

The ranch, where most of the story takes place, is a harsh environment. The men have few amenities in their bunk house. They work hard, have no security, and are subjected to a social hierarchy that is oppressive and intrusive. For example, Curley, the owner's son, can enter the bunk house at any time and start pushing people around.

A third setting that recurs throughout the novel is the imaginary landscape of the small farm George and Lennie dream of owning. This idyllic space—where the men can have privacy, dignity, autonomy, and plenty—contrasts sharply with the austere and threatening landscape of the ranch. As George describes it,

we’d have a little house an’ a room to ourself. Little fat iron stove, an’ in the winter we’d keep a fire goin’ in it. It ain’t enough land so we’d have to work too hard. Maybe six, seven hours a day. We wouldn’t have to buck no barley eleven hours a day. An’ when we put in a crop, why, we’d be there to take the crop up. We’d know what come of our planting.

The ranch and the dream farm landscapes impinge on and overlap with each other, and the contrasts help underscore the difference between what the men dream of having and the realities under which they live. The imaginary farm is a place of escape and aspiration that is poignant in its simplicity, showing that what the men long for is little more than an ordinary life. Yet throughout the novella, it remains out of reach. It is the antidote to life on the ranch, and if the men are prevented from achieving it, Steinbeck nevertheless holds it out as an alternative and better way of living.

The pool is a natural space, an oasis that allows Lennie and George freedom, at least for small spaces of time, to regroup—even if, tragically, that regrouping ultimately means Lennie's death. It has elements of the dreamscape, with natural beauty and rabbits frequently on display, but it is not a place George and Lennie can call home.

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How does Steinbeck present or use setting in Of Mice and Men?

Steinbeck's classic novella is set on a ranch in Soledad, California, which is located in the Salinas Valley during the Great Depression. During the 1930s, thousands of migrant workers traveled to ranches and farms in the Salinas Valley with hopes of finding work during the economic depression. Tragically, many hopeful migrant workers became homeless and experienced turmoil when they could not find work. Steinbeck grew up near Soledad and Salinas and witnessed the struggles of migrant workers firsthand while researching articles for the San Francisco Chronicle. Steinbeck was fascinated by the beautiful, majestic environment of the Salinas Valley contrasted with the hardship and turmoil he witnessed on the ranches. Steinbeck depicts the beautiful, awe-inspiring environment at the beginning of the story when George and Lennie are resting by the tranquil riverbank.

Steinbeck depicts the ranch in Soledad as a hostile, threatening environment, where competition is essential and danger is present. Fittingly, Soledad means "solitude" in Spanish and reflects the lonely lives of the migrant workers. The ranch becomes a microcosm for the Salinas Valley during the Great Depression, where workers experienced turmoil on an everyday basis and lived in constant fear and danger. It is survival of the fittest on the ranch, and the weakest individuals like Lennie and Candy's dog do not survive. Steinbeck poignantly contrasts the beautiful, natural environment of the Salinas Valley with the hostile, depressing ranch in Soledad to give readers insight into the lives of California's migrant workers during the Great Depression.

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How does Steinbeck present or use setting in Of Mice and Men?

In Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck uses the setting to explain the isolation the characters often feel. The story is set during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The novel is set on a ranch in the Salinas Valley in California. 

Times were tough economically. Men like George and Lennie struggled to find work. George and Lennie moved from ranch to ranch trying to find enough money to make their dream come true. Also, the setting was a lonely setting. Men lived in isolation one from another.

George and Lennie dreamed to own a small farm of a few hundred acres, but these farms were "were relatively scarce."

Larger farms produced fruits and vegetables which provided only low wages. It was difficult to save the money that George and Lennie needed to buy their dream farm. 

Steinbeck covered a strike that the workers of the Great Depression created. He was familiar with the economic times which caused the strike of September 1936. During this time, "thousands of lettuce workers in the Salinas Valley went on strike over low wages."

The strike was crushed within a month by army officers who were hired to stop the workers from striking:

The situation grew tense, and an army officer was brought in to lead vigilantes against the strikers. The strike was crushed within a month. Steinbeck covered the strike as a reporter for the San Francisco News.

Also, for a woman like Curley's wife, the setting proved to produce a sense of isolation. No other women are introduced. Curley's wife flirts with the men on the ranch because of isolation and loneliness. She reaches out to Lennie because of her lonely setting. She dies due to her interaction with Lennie. Lennie loses his life because of a woman like Curley's wife. George had warned him that she was "poison."

Economic times were difficult. George and Lennie struggled to make a living during these hard times. Loneliness prevailed. It was a life of isolation for George and Lennie. George and Lennie lived for their dream of owning their own farm one day. Since George had to shoot Lennie in the end, the dream was over.   

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How does John Steinbeck use and present setting in Of Mice and Men?

Steinbeck uses setting in 3 different ways:

1. He portrays the society and culture of the time. Not many people can relate to life on a ranch anymore, nor can they relate to times when people had very little. The description of the bunkhouse in chapters 2 and 3 demonstrates how few items people actually had. The mattresses were of straw, and the men had an apple box nailed to the wall to function as their locker or shelves. The men all shared a room. Little light got into the room even during the day.

2. He uses significant locations as symbols. The pool by the river is the place where the story begins and ends. It helps establish the Dream of the boys as it is serene like their own little ranch would be. It is calm and peaceful just like Lennie's death. This pool seems to symbolize hope and peace.

3. He lets setting compliment character. If you take a look at Crooks' room in chapter 4, you can see the books and supplies described express that Crooks doesn't have many friends, nor is he mobile like so many of the other guys.

How he presents setting:

Steinbeck uses the beginning of every chapter to paint the image of a room or location in which that chapter's activity is going to take place. He often uses vivid images by describing sensory details. Furthermore, he picks items to describe that could have some symbolism. For example, in the bunkhouse he describes streaks of light coming through the slats of the walls to demonstrate the darkness in that room. Quite often light and dark have additional meanings. In the beginning scene, the water seems important as so many animals interact with it. Water often represents life. It could be argued that in the end, life is finally offered to Lennie in his death as many believe in a perfect afterlife. This takes place in the same location at that pool of water.

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How does Steinbeck explore themes in Of Mice and Men through setting?

In Steinbeck's "play-novelette," setting contributes to the themes of Aloneness and Alienation, Idealism vs. Reality, and Race and Racism:

Aloneness and Alienation

  • The opening scene of Steinbeck's novella paints an idyllic scene of nature with scampering wildlife, a pond, and a lovely clearing encompassed in green imagery, but it is yet a lonely place as it sits outside Soledad, which means solitude in Spanish. And, although they are friends and travel together, George Milton precedes Lennie as they disturb the small animals, suggesting their alienation from nature:

And then from the direction of the state highway came the sound of footsteps on crisp sycamore leaves. The rabbits hurried noiselessly for cover.

  • There in the clearing, George soon discovers that Lennie possesses a dead mouse, a damaged creature who presages the trouble to come. As a result of his discovery, George becomes angry with Lennie, who offers to go off on his own.  But, George softens, and when Lennie asks him to recite their dream, George does so with poignancy. 
  • In the setting of the lice-infested bunkhouse, Candy lies bereft on his bed as the callous Carlson takes his old dog and shoots it.
  • Always alone and alienated, Curley's wife stands in the doorways of the bunkhouse and to Crooks's room. After she is inadvertently killed by Lennie, Curley's wife lies alone in the hay of the barn.
  • Crooks is isolated in the barn as he is not allowed to dwell with the others in the bunkhouse because he is black.
  • In the final chapter, Lennie waits alone in the clearing, hiding in the bushes as snake enters.
  • George is left alone as he has killed Lennie at the clearing in order to prevent his having to spend a future of terrible isolation in a mental institution.

Idealism vs Reality

  • George and Lennie's dream of a farm fails because it is too idealistic.  For, if they were to obtain the farm, they would probably have had to work and there may easily have been conflicts among the men. So, the dream setting does not match reality
  • In the clearing, there is a mix of comfort in the cave, a symbol or ideal primitive innocence, and  realistic threats as when George and Lennie settle down for the night in Chapter 1, coyotes yammer and in Chapter 6, a snake slithers into the final scene.
  • The ideal of the fraternity of men is also unrealistic as the comfort of the bunkhouse is disturbed by the aggressive Carlson, Curley who challenges Lennie, and Curley's wife who disrupts an emerging brotherhood among Lennie, Candy, and Crooks in the stable.
  • George survives only by abandoning his and Lennie's dream-ideal and walking back from the clearing with Slim, a more capable friend.
  • Curley's wife, too, has been trapped in the setting of the ranch where no other women are and where any opportunites are non-existent for her, such as her idealistic dream of getting into "pitchers."

Race and Racism

  • Crooks is not allowed to associated with other ranch hands except when they throw horseshoes.  He is confined to the stable where he reads books alone in his room.
  • When it seems that he may begin to associate with others such as Lennie and Candy, who do enter his room, Curley's wife intrudes into the stable.  Crooks' words to her bring on a barrage of racial insults as Curley's wife threatens to have him "strung up."  After this scene, he retreats to his corner and says no more.
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What is the social setting in Of Mice and Men?

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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In what ways does Steinbeck present and use setting in Of Mice and Men?

It should be noted that Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men is history as well as drama. The picture he painted of life on a California ranch is an old one. In the time he was writing about, the workers were mostly white males who drifted from place to place with the crops. There was a big influx of "Okies" and "Arkies" in the Dust Bowl era during the late 1930s. These were whole families, unlike the single, solitary men depicted in Of Mice and Men. Women and children worked in the fields alongside the men. These people were almost all white too. Steinbeck wrote about them in his classic novel Of Grapes of Wrath.

Then when World War II started in Europe in late 1939, the U.S. government began spending large amounts of money earmarked for "preparedness" and "defense." In California many good jobs became available, especially in shipbuilding, aircraft manufacture, and munitions manufacture, along with the subsidiary jobs in such things as transportation and warehousing. There was also a lot of bridge building, dam building, and highway construction financed by Roosevelt's New Deal programs. The white farm workers, including the new arrivals from the Dust Bowl, were absorbed by defense work, and when the U.S. was drawn into the war with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, many of the men were absorbed into the armed forces. There was a great shortage of farm labor, and the Mexican Bracero program was instituted in 1942 to allow Mexicans into the country on a temporary basis for as farm laborers. Since that time the majority of farm workers have been Mexicans. There has also been a changeover to sophisticated farm machinery, so that the teams of horses described in Of Mice and Men are no longer to be seen. The war ended the Great Depression and America enjoyed boom times which created abundant employment for white males. They never returned to farm work in significant numbers.

So Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men reads almost like a piece of nostalgia today. Steinbeck uses the setting in that novella to show the emptiness and competitiveness that existed among working men during the Great Depression. His settings are extremely simple because he wrote his novella with the intention of adapting it into a stage play. The main sets are a bunkhouse and the barn where Lennie kills Curley's wife. The only exterior setting is the riverbank campsite. The interactions of the characters are of far more importance than the settings. Steinbeck made much greater use of settings in his panoramic novel The Grapes of Wrath, where the reader experiences life on the highway and in roadside camps with the homeless Joad family.

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What is the setting in the book Of Mice and Men?

Most of Of Mice and Men occurs on the Tyler Ranch in California. George and Lennie’s job on the ranch is to help bring in the harvest. The fact that the story takes place during the Great Depression underscores the economic difficulties that George and Lennie face as seasonal workers.

Not all of the story takes place on the ranch, however. As the book opens, George and Lennie have found a nice quiet spot by a river. This is the only time in the novel when things will be this peaceful for them. Steinbeck uses setting to frame the story by having the characters return to this spot at the end of the book, but now things are no longer nice and quiet.

It is also worth noting that Steinbeck divides the ranch setting to show the isolation of the one black character, Crooks. While all the white workers live in the bunkhouse, Crooks is segregated into the barn as the “stable buck.”

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What do we learn about the setting from the opening of the book in Of Mice and Men?

The beginning of the novel introduces us to an area outside of Soledad in California during the Great Depression.

In the beginning of the story, we learn that the men are somewhere distant from civilization.  They are not on the ranch yet.  If we pay attention, we learn that they are in California.  You can tell all of this from the first sentence.

A few miles south of Soledad, the Salinas River drops in close to the hillside bank and runs deep and green. The water is warm too, for it has slipped twinkling over the yellow sands in the sunlight before reaching the narrow pool. (Ch. 1)

From the mention of Soledad and Salinas, we know that it is California where the men are stopping.  Also, there is mention of the Galiban Mountains.  There are a lot of animals, so there must not be many people around.  This is close to the ranch, however, because while there are not many people around, people do come by.

In front of the low horizontal limb of a giant sycamore there is an ash pile made by many fires; the limb is worn smooth by men who have sat on it. (Ch. 1)

From the way the men dress, “denim trousers and in denim coats with brass buttons” and “black, shapeless hats” and carrying blanket rolls, we can guess that this takes place sometime in the past.  The men’s’ dinner will also give you some clues.

“I got three cans of beans in my bindle. You get a fire ready. I'll give you a match when you get the sticks together. Then we'll heat the beans and have supper." (Ch. 1)

People with a knowledge of history will guess the Great Depression by the way the men are dressed, the fact that they eat canned beans and talk about ketchup, and the talk about the bus and the ranch.  It was a time when many men traveled around the county, especially California, looking for work on ranches.

All of these elements—the description of the landscape, what the men wear, and even what they eat—make up the setting.  They introduce us to where the men are, and when the scene is taking place.  From this, we can guess what is going to be happening in the story.  We know that the story will take place on a ranch.

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In John Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men, what is the setting?

The setting of Of Mice and Men is California during the Great Depression.

The book starts near Salinas, California along the central coast.  The men are headed to a ranch, after having been run out of Weed in Northern California.

Steinbeck begins by painstakingly describing the nature in the Salinas valley.

A few miles south of Soledad, the Salinas River drops in close to the hillside bank and runs deep and green. (ch 1)

During the 1930s, times were tough.  Many people were traveling from ranch to ranch trying to find work.  George and Lennie did this.  This is why they were headed to a new ranch.  They could never stay in one place too long.  They and other migrant farm workers had bigger dreams, but few chances.

Interestingly enough, the entire book takes place over only a few days.  When the story begins, it is Thursday.  We know this because George and Lennie arrive on a Friday.  It ends on a Sunday.  It is a compact book with a compact time frame.

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In John Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men, what is the setting?

Setting in terms of place is California, as experienced by the migrant workers Steinbeck had researched for the San Francisco News; their unsettled lifestyle creates  loneliness which is a major theme of the book. The specific setting of Soledad (spanish for loneliness) also reveals Steinbeck's concerns.

Setting in terms of historical time is The Great Depression which has forced the likes of George and Lennie onto the road to find work, and makes them impoverished. However, despite this their dream house becomes a reality when Candy offers up his money. It is not financial hardship which destroys the dream but George's inability to protect and control Lennie (resulting in the death of Curley's Wife). George wants to believe that Lennie has a place in this world (the dream house). Following CW's death, he sadly no longer believes this.

We can see that Steinbeck's themes here are vast: the loneliness of the human condition and the nature of the world we live in. It attempts to go further than a political analysis of the causes and effects of The Great Depression.

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In John Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men, what is the setting?

The setting of the novella by John Steinbeck, entitled Of Mice and Men, is in the United States, specifically in California, during what is called the Great Depression, during the 1930s. This terrible economical disaster began with the Great Crash of 1929, when the bottom fell out of the Stock Market. People lost jobs, life savings, businesses and their homes. Thousands of families and individuals searched for work, sometimes moving across the United States.

Steinbeck's story is the result of research he did while working for a newspaper on migrant workers of the Salinas Valley in California in the mid-1930s. His assignment for the San Francisco News would ultimately form the basis for story presented in Of Mice and Men, with themes that would be further developed in Steinbeck's classic novel entitled, The Grapes of Wrath, which focuses on a family traveling from the "dust bowl" of America to find a better way of life in a time of loss and alienation.

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How does Steinbeck present and use settings in Of Mice and Men?

In the novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, the author uses settings for several important reasons.  Because Steinbeck thought that this story might be good on stage, the settings are very simple, a barn, a bunkhouse, or a grove for easy transfer to a stage where sets need to be simple.  Steinbeck also uses these settings to emphasize the plight of the itinerant migrant worker who must move from place to place to find work.  George and Lennie fit the profile of a migrant worker who has no permanent home, is often delegated to a bunkhouse or barn as a home for the time he works at the current job, and must then move on to another place to find work, always dreaming of a place of their own. This work also shows the difference in the class structure of the time with the landowner of the upper class and the workers of the lower class which also fits George and Lennie. Setting plays a big role in framing the action of the story.

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