The Importance of the American Dream to John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men

The Importance of the American Dream to John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men

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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. While digging canals Steinbeck
was afforded his first opportunity to meet and observe this class of
unskilled labourers who would later inhabit much of his work.
Steinbeck was a lonely, modest and restless man. This is reflected in
'Of Mice and Men' where the main characters are ranch workers and are
lonely men always searching for something more. Steinbeck creates
atmosphere brilliantly in 'Of Mice and Men'. He uses the verb as a
descriptor, and by including contrasts, similes and metaphors, the
recurring themes of light and sound and suspense, he creates a very
vivid atmosphere. The Salinas River is mentioned in the first line the
novella and is centred on the landscape around Salinas:

'On the sandy bank under the trees the leaves lie deep and so crisp
that a lizard makes a great skittering if he runs among them.'

The animals make the scene very natural and peaceful and Steinbeck is
renowned for his love of the outdoors and of animals. He describes the
scene very vividly, using such phrases as, "fresh and green", "yellow
sands" and "golden foot-hill". These are soft colours, and so imply a
peaceful, tranquil atmosphere. He foc...


... middle of paper ...


...ly life and this is not understood by others like
Carlson because they don't understand how it is to be cared for by
another person. No character has learnt a moral lesson either and this
sums up society. However the hope and desire shown by Lennie and his
companionship with George, especially reflects the optimistic side of
this novella. The American Dream can fit in with themes such as
isolation and segregation and this is shown in the character of
Crooks, Candy and Curley's wife.

I think Steinbeck successfully uses this novella to show a distinct
contrast between it and his society he lived in and it shows the
harshness of society when there was a Great Depression. He shows how
the lack of fairness in society of arrogant greedy people, and those
who had nothing to live for but have hope for achieving their dreams.

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