John Steinbeck 's Of Mice And Men Essay

John Steinbeck 's Of Mice And Men Essay

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John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’ is a social commentary on the reality of life in the 1930s. During the Great Depression many people were left unemployed and homeless. Due to this, the concept of the American Dream became even more idealized. Steinbeck uses characters and events that take place in the novella to display his views not only towards the American Dream but also the social ills of the era.
Steinbeck is shown to have a fatalistic view of the American Dream. This is a reoccurring notion amongst many of his books, such as ‘The wrath of Grapes’. This is also portrayed by the characters in ‘Of Mice and Men’. At some point in the novella each main character is shown to have an unrealistic fantasy of how life should be. George and Lennie dream to buy their own place ‘An’ live off the fatta the lan’”. This idea is what separates them from the other workers. It’s what stops George from being ‘mean’ and even helps strengthen their relationship. However when Lennie dies so does their dream. It was never Steinbeck’s intention for any of the characters to live their dream. As Crook says ‘Nobody ever gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land.”
The novella draws a few parallels to the Genesis. The story of the original sin is shown to have two characters that strive towards what cannot be gained, with the guidance of a serpent, only to be banished from their paradise. During this time the American dream was highly glamourized by the government due to the great depression, in order to keep up the spirits of the citizens by giving them the prospects of living a better life, which in reality could not be attained. This is represented by the serpent that persuades Adam and Eve to eat from the forbidden tree. The tree represents the Amer...


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...e. Also the death of his dog represents how easily workers during that time could me dismissed once they were deemed useless. Another character that represents this idea, who is over looked, is Curley. George lost his dream, candy lost his dog and both Curley’s wife and Lennie lost their lives. It is often forgotten that Curley also lost his wife. This shows that even Curley as rich, white, male loses his dream of a perfect trophy wife. Every single character was under the illusion that they could live a better life. The American dream is the ideal by with anyone, no matter where they come from or what they have is able to achieve the highest aspirations. Each character failing to do this even the ones that are better off symbolises the true illusion that is the American dream. Everyone has a dream and ‘every damn one of `em 's got a little piece of land in his head’

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