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Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, is set in Salinas, Californiain the
1930's at the time of The Great Depression. The book is about the
lives of two working men and it covers topics such as
industrialisation and racism, both important issues in the USAat the
time. All the workers had their own personal dream to achieve (The
American Dream), but none of them managed to achieve their dreams and
in the end the American dream proves to be unachievable.
The two main characters are George and Lennie and they dream of owning
their own ranch. George is described as small with sharp features
with, "a thin and bony nose" (p. 2). George quite often gets fed up
with Lennie because he is so forgetful and he gets into trouble. When
this happens, George is the one who always has to solve the problems
and to get them out of trouble. George and Lennie share a dream.
Really it is Lennie's dream, but George articulates it for the both of
them. The dream is to own their own bit of land. He describes the
plight of ranch workers, "Guys like us, that work on ranches are the
loneliest guys in the world." (p. 14) "Some day â€¦ we're gonna have a
little house and a couple of acres . . . 'An' live off the fatta the
lan" (p. 15).
In contrast to George, Lennie is described as " . . . his opposite, a
huge man . . . (p. 2). George looks after Lennie as the latter has a
mental health condition or learning needs, which were not recognised
in those days. At the time the book was written Lennie would have just
been seen as dumb. Lennie got himself into all sorts of trouble, but
... middle of paper ...
...e's beans without ketchup is a metaphor of their
lives, all work and function but no luxury and fun.
The whole story is basically sad, because nobody is getting anywhere
and their lives are not getting any better. They cannot earn enough
money to save up a stake for their dreams. This is proof that their
dreams are not coming true.
The book portrays Americaduring the 1930's as a land with no equal
opportunities or rights for ethnic minorities, poor or disabled
people. The good American life was just a dream after all.
The trouble with dreams is that they're not real. George and Lennie's
dream was just a bunch of words repeated over and over. At the
beginning these words were said "rhythmically", but by the end, they
are spoken "monotonously", when George finally accepts his dreams will
never come to fruition.
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