The American Dream in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men Essay

The American Dream in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men Essay

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Of Mice and Men is based on 1930's America during the Great
Depression. The American dream was no more, and the land of
opportunity had become the land of misfortune. It was during this
time that many farmers best hope for a new life lay in California. The
American Dream is the idea of an individual overcoming all obstacles
and beating all odds to one day be successful. This subject is the
predominant theme in John Steinbeck’s novel.

This is a novel of defeated hope and the harsh reality of the American
dream. Steinbeck’s naturalistic and unrefined style of writing is
helpful because of its ability to connect with his readers.

The most important dream in this novel is that of the two main characters Lennie and George. They are poor, homeless, migrant workers who although their dream is essentially the same, they both want it for different reasons. They desperately cling to the notion that they are better than other workers who drift from ranch to ranch because, unlike the others, they have a plan for the future and they have each other. The two men are not unique for wanting a place and a life of their own, but they are unique in that they have each other.

Lennie wants to live somewhere where no one would try to hurt him and
get mad at him if he does something wrong. More importantly Lennie
wants to tend the rabbits because he likes touching things that look
soft so the idea of being allowed to look after an entire family of
live rabbits completely delights him: ‘”An’ put some grass to the
rabbits,” Lennie broke in. “I wouldn’t never forget to feed them. When
we gon’ta do it, George?”’

Lennie's dream holds the whole novel together. We hear it at the
beginning, when it sounds like fantasy. We hear it in t...


... middle of paper ...


...ho were moving to America were hoping for.
I think that Steinbeck’s use of dreams is very effective and found it
very interesting trying to find the link between the dreams and the
mood of the time.

There are three main messages that Steinbeck is portraying in this
novel. The first is of the loyalty and friendship which exists between
George and Lennie and the rarity of this in 1930’s working man’s
America. The second is of the hostile economic environment of America
during this period. Thirdly is of the loneliness and isolation which
each character experiences and the dream of a better life. The novel
also illustrates the importance of moral responsibility, and veracity
of social injustice. I believe that this is a reflection of
Steinbeck’s thoughts on the subject of the ‘American Dream’ and the
false promises of the American government at that time.

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