The American Dream has long been thought the pinnacle idea of American society. The idea that anyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, or financial status, could rise from the depths and become anything they wanted to be with no more than hard work and determination has attracted people from all around the world. Two writers from America’s past, however, have a different opinion on the once-great American Dream. F. Scott Fitzgerald and John Steinbeck have given the public their beliefs on the modern Dream through the novels they have written, The Great Gatsby, and Of Mice and Men, respectively. One novel placed during the Great Depression and the other during the Roaring Twenties both illustrate how their author feels about the Dream itself through the use of many literary devices. While both novels have main characters with hopes for something better, all the characters seem to fall into the same plagued pit. Through depravity and decadence, the American Dream seems to have become exactly what its name implies: A dream, not a reality.
Through characterization, both authors illustrate their view on the American Dream. Using George as a catalyst in Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck shows how the working class of the United States strives for something better and works hard to attain their dream. “O.K. Someday – we’re gonna get the jack together and we’re gonna have a little house and a couple of acres an’ a cow and some pigs and-…” (14) George’s conversations with Lennie involving the farm that they are trying to buy show that George will not give up his pursuit of a better life, no matter what obstacles slow him down. Steinbeck also shows how friendship is part of the American Dream through George always sticking by Lennie, despite...
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...is love, Daisy, but he avoids the simple solution of directly talking to her. He falls in to bootlegging in order to gain his wealth, and then throws elaborate parties to attract her, failing every time. The rest of the characters, with the exception of Nick, are too concerned with money to see anything else. Their American Dream has fallen into nothing more than greed. While both authors present their side of the Dream in different ways, both novels end in the same way: The American Dream stands there for the characters to grasp, yet in the end, they all fall short. The American Dream remains that, and nothing more; a dream, just out of reach and shrouded in darkness.
Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. New York: Penguin, 1993. Print.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Collier Books Macmillan
Publishing Company, 1986. Print.
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