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John Steinbeck’s The Leader of the People

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Length: 1460 words (4.2 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Orange      
Price: $9.95
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“The Leader of the People”

     In John Steinbeck’s “The Leader of the People,” a theme that is portrayed throughout the story is that of the contrast between dream and reality. In the story, Grandfather cannot come to grasp that his dreams of the West and moving across the plains are over and that reality has set in. Another story that contrasts dream and reality is Ambrose Pierce’s “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.” In this story, Farquhar cannot tell the difference between dream and reality until the very last second, when he is hanged.
     The plot in each of the stories is completely different, but both add to the theme of the contrast between dream and reality. In “The Leader of the People,” Grandfather returns to his daughter’s farm, where he is disliked by his son-in-law for his story telling. This is where he is dreaming of the past and what a great time he had. However, after hearing his son-in-law badmouth him, he comes to the realization that his dream is over and reality has set in. In “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” Farquhar is dreaming when he is escaping from the Union soldiers, however his dreams crash down when he is thrown over the bridge and dies.
     There is a strong contrast in character in “The Leader of the People.” Carl is the reality that is trying to bring Grandfather back down to earth to see clearly. Carl is
                                                  
thinking about the future and not dreaming of the past. Grandfather o...


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...ry serious one in which he championed the fight shown by the South and there struggle to fight for what they believed in, only to be taken down by the
Union. These tones both add to the theme because the attitude taken by the author to the story they are writing tells what they are trying to portray.
     Both Steinbeck and Pierce were writing about the contrast between dreams and realities in their modern worlds. Grandfather wishes for when he was on top of the world and Farquhar wishes to be back at home, safe and sound with his family. Both men are brought back into reality by the characters around them. They accept the facts that they will never again be able to back to where they were on top and ruling the world, in their minds.

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