How Did The Great Depression Affect American People

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In what ways did the Great Depression affect the American people? After a decade of economic prosperity, what seemed like an era that defined the concept of the American dream, quickly came to an end when the stock market on Wall Street collapsed in 1929. The aftermath of the events that occurred on Wall Street would put its heavy mark on the years to follow among the citizens of the United States. Banks closed down, unemployment rose and homelessness increased. It was a widespread national catastrophe that had its impacts on both poor and rich. In this essay, I am going to look at what ways the Great Depression affected the American people with examples from John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men. Available jobs and high wages had been…show more content…
It certainly did not help that the amount of food available to the population was short due to the agricultural damage of “the dust bowl”. The most common crimes were petty theft and prostitution, and during the worst times many would also turn to murder and alcohol smuggling. Kids were pulled out of school in order to support their families by working on farms or in factories, and together with the few adults that were able to get a job, they would often work long days for either starvation wages or no wage at all. Some kids would also run away from home due to poverty and family problems. This desperation that led people to commit crimes can also roughly be seen in chapter six of Steinbeck’s novel, when George tells Lennie that he would have it easier without him, and ends up killing Lennie, his companion. “If I was alone, I could live so easy. […] I could get a job an’ not have no mess”(Steinbeck, 145) “Never you mind, said Slim. A guy got to sometimes” (Steinbeck, 148) The approval from a guy named Slim, really shows how crimes were looked upon during this time. For many, crimes were a necessary evil in order to stay

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