Essay PreviewMore ↓
The novel explores the predatory nature of human existence. It explores loneliness, isolation and friendship. A major theme is that of the illusionary nature of 'Dreams'. In particular, 'The American Dream'.
To paraphrase Robert Burns-"The best laid plans of mice and men go awry". This is a bleak statement and it is at the centre of the novel's action. George and Lennie have the dream of owning their own ranch and living a free independent life; they would be self-reliant and most of all they would be safe from a harsh and hostile world. Other characters in the book also try to buy into their dream ie, Candy and Crooks. Ultimately, the dream unravels and like a Greek Tragedy, the ending is terrible but also predictable.
Even though there is tragedy there-what Steinbeck seems to be saying is that the human spirit can and will endure despite immense privations. The will to live and endure will always overcome defeated hopes.
The novel is an exposé of the harsh and vicious reality of the American Dream'. George and Lennie are poor homeless migrant workers doomed to a life of wandering and toil. They will be abused and exploited; they are in fact a model for all the marginalized poor of the world. Injustice has become so much of their world that they rarely mention it. It is part of their psyche. They do not expect to be treated any different no matter where they go.
George and Lennie live in a hopeless present but they somehow try to keep a foot in an idealized future. They dream of one day running their own ranch, safe and answerable to no one. Others such as Curley's wife dreams of being a movie star, Crooks, of hoeing his own patch and Candy's couple of acres'.The dream ends with the death of Lennie.
How to Cite this Page
"The American Dream in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men." 123HelpMe.com. 21 Aug 2018
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The American Dream is a fundamental theme in John Steinbeck's novel 'Of Mice and Men'. I will endeavor to examine how the theme is presented in the novel in order to determine why it is so important. Whilst exploiting the theme it will be imperative to consider the characters that hold this dream, I will focus on George and Lennie, the two central characters. In addition I will acknowledge the social and economic situation of the time, the Great Depression. The American Dream is an ideal, a hope that has been central to American culture since the formation of the country.... [tags: Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck]
717 words (2 pages)
- The American Dream in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men Of Mice and Men is a story set during the 1930's America, this was a time when the great depression had hit the world. This novel was written by John Steinbeck who had based most of his work in the story location. The main aspect of this story evolves around the American dream, and how it is perceived by the characters. The American dream is an expression for everything great in life; it is based on a dream that has a future with happiness.... [tags: Essay on Of Mice and Men]
2965 words (8.5 pages)
- The novel, 'Of Mice and Men' written by John Steinbeck refers back to The American Dream as 'heaven'. Steinbeck is trying to point out that the American Dream is unrealistic. This novel looks back at the dreams of American individuals in the 1930's. It is set in California at the time of the Great Depression during which the American stock market collapsed leaving the nation in a state of economical disarray. The disease, hunger and poverty in England were high during this period.... [tags: Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck]
1621 words (4.6 pages)
- The Ways in Which Steinbeck Explores the Concept of the American Dream in Of Mice and Men The American Dream was a dream that nearly everyone had throughout the twentieth century. It was hope for a better life and people believed strongly that it would come true. The main characters in 'Of Mice & Men' have a dream which was to get a plot of land and live on it and become self-sufficient. The American Dream was not an achievable goal for many people. Steinbeck shows this failure through the characters of Lennie & George.... [tags: Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck]
1370 words (3.9 pages)
- Compare the American Dream with the real lives of the migrant workers in the novel Of Mice and Men. For the Examiner: The page numbers in this essay are from the Longman edition of the novel “Of Mice and Men”. The ISBN number of this edition is ISBN0582461464. Please take account of this number when marking my paper. In the 1930’s American novelists were writing novels about the current life in America and past experiences. One of these novelists was John Ernst Steinbeck. Steinbeck was born on 27 February 1902, in Salinas, California, USA.... [tags: Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck]
3579 words (10.2 pages)
- Of Mice and Men is based on 1930's America during the Great Depression. The American dream was no more, and the land of opportunity had become the land of misfortune. It was during this time that many farmers best hope for a new life lay in California. The American Dream is the idea of an individual overcoming all obstacles and beating all odds to one day be successful. This subject is the predominant theme in John Steinbeck’s novel. This is a novel of defeated hope and the harsh reality of the American dream.... [tags: Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck]
1434 words (4.1 pages)
- 'Of Mice And Men' explores the ways in which both immigrants and Americans tried to conquer and obtain their goal in life, which in this case was to try and attain their own the American Dream. I will also explores ways in how the American Dream is central to the novel and how Steinbeck reflects the society at the time. In the early 1900's the object that determined the wealth of a family, the object that was mentioned in every conversation all over the world and the object that was every man's most wanted desire, was land.... [tags: Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck]
1093 words (3.1 pages)
- The American Dream in Of Mice and Men The American dream ideally constitutes life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as stated by America's forefathers in the Declaration of Independence. This vision has been extremely warped in the 20th century to fit the new breed of Americans, which are greedy and self-centered. The main characters opinions in the novel Of Mice and Men of The American Dream substantially differs from each other, and from today's society. Of Mice and Men takes place in the 1930's of America during the Great Depression.... [tags: Steinbeck Of Mice and Men Essays]
466 words (1.3 pages)
- The Importance of the American Dream to John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men The novella, 'Of Mice and Men' was written in 1937 in Salinas, California. It was written by John Steinbeck who himself was born in Salinas in 1902. Adjacent to the Salinas River, much of the town's commerce is centred upon shipping and agriculture and specifically vegetable farming. Early in the century many people were migrating to California, and many were trying to succeed in farming. One of Steinbeck's jobs was as a ranch worker.... [tags: Essay on Of Mice and Men]
2276 words (6.5 pages)
- 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 fore... [tags: Of Mice and Men Essays]
605 words (1.7 pages)
Most of the characters in the novel wish to change their lives but they seem to be frozen in failure. One is reminded of some of the people in James Joyce's Dubliners'. The character Slim differs from the others in that he does not seem to want anything outside of what he has already. He has given up hopes of advancement, for him dreams lead to despair. His strength is to endure. Things are unlikely to get better but they can be confronted with courage and stoicism.
There is a sense of profound loneliness and isolation in the novel. Each character desires true and lasting friendship but will settle for the transient involvements of ships that pass in the night'. They are all searching for some fixed stability in their lives. They are looking for somebody to recognize their humanity and give them a real identity that will not be based on economic utility. They are helpless in their isolation-they need help but some seek to belittle and destroy others in similar or worse circumstances.
Oppression does not always come from the strong and powerful. In Steinbeck's world, the weak prey on the weaker-for example, Curley's wife threatens to have Crook's lynched. What we can take from incidents like this is that the strength to oppress others is itself born of weakness.
There is no doubt that this book is a critique of pure market capitalism. The alienation of the worker or the unemployed is very evident. The ethics are dog eat dog'-a total lack of regard for the dignity of the human person. The struggle of Labour to regain its dignity is best exemplified in Steinbeck's In Dubious Battle'.
1. A man only world
2. The Corrupting Power of Women
4. The Human Spirit
Steinbeck has been criticized for many things including the creation of a mans' world where women take a secondary place. There is no doubt but that he was influenced by the macho acting Hemingway in this regard. Women are looked on as self-serving and or dangerous, the Femme Fatale beloved of Film Noir. They tempt men to behave in ways they would otherwise not do, e.g.-Curley's wife fulfils the dangerous flirt stereotype. Loneliness is a recurring motif in the novel. There is a great fear of being cast off-each character is looking for a friend. A less that obvious motif is that of the strength and resilience of the Human Spirit. A novel of comparison here is Alan Sillitoe's, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner'.
1. The farm
2. A free idyllic life
3. Lennie's puppy
4. Candy's dog
The farm is a seductive symbol. It seduces other characters and the reader. A free idyllic life based on self-reliance and protection from a hostile world. Lennie's puppy is symbolic of Lennie's own weakness in the face of a hard intolerant world. The fate of Candy's dog prefigures his own inevitable demise and also the demise of the other ranch hands: the fate that awaits anyone who has outlived his or her usefulness, the strong dispose of the weak.
To end on this note would be to do the novel an injustice. The best ending is that of the author, in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech (1962), "The writer is delegated to celebrate man's proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit, for gallantry in defeat, for courage, compassion and love. In the endless war against weakness and despair, these are the bright rally flags of hope and emulation. I hold that a writer who does not passionately believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication and no membership in literature." With stoical endurance and courage the human spirit will prevail.
Leviathan By Thomas Hobbes
In Dubious Battle By John Steinbeck
The Sea Wolf By Jack London
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner By Alan Sillitoe
Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech At www.steinbeck.org