How Of Mice and Men and The Great Gatsby Reflect the American Nightmare
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The phrase the American dream is contradictory to it’s meaning. The American dream was for most people just that, a dream. However, these very people had their hopes dashed and were forever lost. One could argue that a much more fitting and appropriate name for the American dream might as well be the American nightmare. In the 1920’s and early 30’s, the American dream was a beacon of hope as well as prosperity for anyone unfortunate enough to fall under it’s alluring curse, with an exception of a handful of people. What was given instead of this promise of wealth and dreams, what was given was the deterioration of dreams, and usually lives. Sadly, Lennie Small, from Of Mice and Men as well as Jay Gatsby, from The Great Gatsby was not the exceptions.
To better understand Lennie Small, a poor mentally challenged farm hand’s dream, it would be a good idea to learn a few important characteristics about Lennie Small. Owens Louis states how Lennie is constantly compared to an animal or described as childlike (147), this shows that Lennie’s mind was not like most people’s mind, he was mentally ill. Lennie’s psyche results in Lennie acting as a ten-year-old child in a grown man’s body. Despite Lennie’s childlike nature he was still incredibly dangerous. Owens also states that Lennie is monstrously powerful and that he has a problem with killing things (148). What can be observed here is that Lennie is a force to be reckon with. Now that there is a better understanding of who Lennie is, it will make understanding his dream all the easier.
Lennie had one dream and one dream only, that was to own his very own farm with his best, and only friend, George Milton. Joseph Frotenrose supports this by saying that George, Lennie, as well as a few ...
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...at the Daisy that he once loved is no longer the woman he sees now, says Leone Bruno (99). The sad, but undeniable truth is that Lennie as well as Gatsby’s dreams were both inevitably unachievable from the start, as is usually the American dream.
The dreams of people are the most important things to anyone. Mainly due to the fact that dreams make up whom a person is at heart. An infinite number of people have had and will continue to have their lives destroyed because they chased a dream, and unfortunately they didn’t run fast enough. Among these people are Lennie Small and Jay Gatsby. These two gentlemen had the displeasure of chasing a dream that was unachievable even from the very beginning. This eventually led to the death of these two young people. In the end, a more precise name for the American dream just keeps coming to mind. That is The American Nightmare.