John Steinbeck wrote many novels, including Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath. In the book, Of Mice and Men, he mentions the historic Route 66. A short summary of “Of Mice and Men,” background information, and the correlation of Route 66 and The Grapes of Wrath will describe how the two are related. First, in the book Of Mice and Men, Lennie and George travel from ranch to ranch looking for jobs as ranch hands. There is a problem with Lennie and a woman at the ranch of Weed, so he and George go to a new ranch.
When they arrive, they meet Curley, Slim, Crooks, Curley’s Wife, and others. They help out around the ranch while getting paid. Lennie and George do not spend their money because they have a dream house they are saving up for. Lennie always talks about “Tending the rabbits” and the great times they will have when they get the house. The other ranch hands hear about this plan and want in. Unfortunately, Curley’s wife was a whore and tried to get on Lennie, even after he killed his puppy, thinking that it would bounce off the ground.
Lennie likes soft things, like mice and soft fabrics, so when Curley’s wife offered for Lennie to touch her hair, he grabbed on and didn’t let go. She started screaming so Lennie choked her. After George found out that Lennie killed her, he realized that he would have to go to an asylum where he would be probed and tested because of the mental disabilities he had. George had to shoot him and go on his way. Next, the Historic Route 66 played a great role in American history, especially during the Great Depression.
This route was made of dirt and rocks, and stretched from Chicago to Los Angeles. It crossed a lot of the Midwest, Great Plains, and the Southwest. Historic Route 66 does not exist anymore, but highways and other paths can be taken to get a feel of the distance and scenery. Following, John Steinbeck, in his 1940 novel Grapes of Wrath, chronicled the migration along Route 66 of thousands of farmers leaving the Dust Bowl of Kansas and Oklahoma during the Great Depression, trying to reach a better land in California.
Steinbeck posited the road as an almost hostile force, draining money, energy, and enthusiasm from the optimistic Okies. In Of Mice and Men, the highway that George walks to after Lennie is dead is the famous Historic Route 66. In conclusion, Route 66 was a major part of both John Steinbeck’s novels and the American history of the Great Depression. It helped many migrant farmers get to a better life in California and shaped our nation for years to come.
Courtney from Study Moose
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