Context of a Novel

The time and place in which a novel is composed affects the way we read the novel.
Context is a vital part of a novel’s composition.
Great works of literature are those that often bring to life a particular era of history; readers find it a rewarding and intriguing experience to be transported to a place in time and become immersed in a world different to their own. John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men is a novel about two drifters George and Lennie who get work on a ranch, planning to save up enough money to buy a farm of their own.   The main aspect of context is the Great Depression as the novel is set in the 1930’s in America. Other aspects are civil right and racism, the working class and rural life and John Steinbeck’s life experiences.
Due to the stock market crash in 1929, America and the world was plunged into an economic depression. This caused widespread unemployment and poverty for many families.   This is evident in the novel in many ways. The main way is the lifestyle that many of the characters lead; its transient nature causes isolation and loneliness for the men as they are unable to form meaningful friendships as they move around looking for work.

Introduction – what is context? Why is it important? What aspects of context are in the novel?
The Great Depression   - what is it? How does it affect the novel’s themes? Find 3 egs
Racism/lynching- what is it? How does it affect the novel’s meaning and themes? Find 2   egs
Rural life – what was life like on the farm? How is this conveyed in the dialogue?
John Steinbecks life – what aspects of his life have affected the writing of the novel? What quotes support this?
Conclusion – Summarise your main points. Why did Steinbeck write this novel? What was the message he was trying to convey?