American Dream in Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

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American Dream in Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

"Now what the hell ya suppose is eatin them two guys?" Steinbeck ends
his novella with this last insensitive comment as it shows the harsh
reality of the world, society as a whole is ignorant. Curley and
Carlson prove this at the end of the novel; they are so unaware of
compassion that they are surprised to witness the sadness of George
and Slim. Steinbeck was writing at the time of the Wall street crash
which occurred in 1929 this led to mass unemployment in America, thus
the concept of the American dream was lost this ideally constitutes
life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as stated by America's
forefathers in the Declaration of Independence. It is clear that
people are disillusioned by the whole concept of the American dream;
George, Lennie and Candy are so wrapped up with this notion that they
are almost oblivious to the reality which lies ahead of them. Even
poor Curley's wife dreamt of living the American dream, but like the
three workers her hopes were dashed.

Dreams are very significant in John Steinbeck's novel and almost every
character has an individual dream, these dreams are mostly connected
to being in control and owning your own land. The futility of George
and Lennie's struggle for their little piece of the American dream is
best described by up by Crooks when he said that he has "seen hundreds
of men come by on the road an' on the ranches, with their bindles on
their back an' that same damn thing in their heads. They come, an'
they quit an' go on; an' every damn one of `em's got a little piece of
land in his head. An' never a God damn one of the get it." The
characters' dreams are so closely connected that three of the
characters share their dream and thus make it more attainable yet more
heartbreaking when All hope for a better future for George or Candy is
lost, for the dream perishes with Lennie.

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In the novel Steinbeck never gives Curley's Wife a name, this makes
her dream even more significant as the one thing she really wants is
an identity, to have people know and love her. Curley's wife dreamt of
being famous, She longed to experience the world for herself. She is
virtually a prisoner in her own home, when she was young, she dreamt
of becoming a famous actress in a "show," but when she married Curly,
her entire life changed for the worse. After her marriage, the
shattered remains of her dreams and a husband who did not love her was
all she had left. Curley's wife is given a reputation of causing
trouble between the men on the ranch yet there is no evidence of her
living up to her reputation in the novel. Candy says "Well she got the
eye" which could have many meanings; however this shows his perception
of Curley's wife. When she dies he calls her a "tramp" and Candy
blames her for ruining his dream of living with George and Lennie.
Curley did not respect nor love his wife yet when she died he was
furious, almost irrational, but ironically the death of his wife wins
him great sympathy and support from the ranch workers. Until her
murder, everyone on the ranch hated Curley. Now everyone gathers
around him wanting to kill Lennie. However when Candy's dog died
everyone was eager to make him feel better yet Lennie is a living
person and they show more compassion towards the dog ,they do not show
the same respect and concern to George over losing his companion and
friend. Slim is the only one who understands.

Candy's dream is directly related to a different aspect of the
American Dream, his main concern is security and "many people in 1929
were worried about what would happen to them when they became too
elderly to labor manually. So Steinbeck is using Candy to show how
many people felt at the time," possibly Steinbeck believed that people
would relate to this and thus identify with the character more.
Steinbeck appears to be trying to fit all the concerns and dreams of
the general population into one book. Also many people from all over
the world moved to America in search of freedom and wealth, this
included black people like Crooks so this dream could be related to
the disappointment people like Crooks felt when their dreams ended in
loneliness.

It is clear that all the categories of society, whether there white,
black, female, male old or ,young have a dream, yet most do not get
where they want to go, there are obstacles in each of the characters
way. Steinbeck obviously tries to relate his compassionate story to
these people and display the harsh realities of life for poor
unskilled workers.


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