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Both of Mice and Men and The Mayor of Casterbridge end in tragedy. In what ways and to what extent do the characters in these novels contribute to their own downfalls? In you answer comment on and discuss the importance of dreams.

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Introduction

Both of Mice and Men and The Mayor of Casterbridge end in tragedy. In what ways and to what extent do the characters in these novels contribute to their own downfalls? In you answer comment on and discuss the importance of dreams. A dream is something that you indulge in, that you can use to escape from the normality of life; this is what John Steinbeck and Thomas Hardy seem to have based Of Mice and Men and The Mayor of Casterbridge respectively on. In Steinbeck's case it is the dream of two fellow workers, George Milton and Lennie Small. They perceive in what is known as their own "American Dream". Their dream is to own land, which is similar to the "Great American Dream" and with the belief that you can achieve anything if you put your mind and desire to it, they set out to pursue it. Dreams range from somewhat simple dreams to complex and very ambitious thoughts. Although we are not told of Lennie and George's dream at the start we later find out that what they believe they can do seems far beyond mild aspiration. In The Mayor of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy uses the power of dreams mixed with fate to a more realistic standard. He uses his characters to show how fate can affect the rise and downfall of a human being. This is shown by the main character Michael Henchard who rises from the depths of depression to be a successful Mayor and then is taken over in a mist of greed and selfishness. ...read more.

Middle

"Quote" As long as Lennie keeps quiet at interviews and lets his strength do the talking he gives the impression of an excellent worker. Lennie's amazing strength also allows him to defend himself fittingly, which George calls upon him to do when Curley attacks him for no real reason. "quote" This is usefull to have in place where unhappy men are cooped up together with limited opportunities. Therefore the problem of Lennie's strength is the lack of ability to control it, and it is imperative to see that if Lennie does harm then it is unintentional. "He ain't mean. I can see Lennie ain't a bit mean." This is backed up by when Lennie goes to fight Curley he doesn't have any idea what to do. "Let im have it", says George to Lennie "Let im have what, George?" is Lennie's reply. This shows the endearing quality and lack of aggression of Lennie. If Lennie had Curley's mean temperament, he really would be dangerous. We see that the only think that can provoke Lennie into any kind of violence is when the dream of living off the fat of the land is under threat. Lennie's lack of control over his strength probably is due to the harshness of the surroundings, but the ranch is a hostile place, full of vengeful and desperate characters. Nothing shows this more by the way he kills Curley's wife and why he kills her. "Quote" Lennie is worried about what might happen if Curley's wife is heard screaming, in fact the only thing that Lennie can imagine happening is that ...read more.

Conclusion

Whereas in The Mayor Of Casterbridge the death of Henchard's wife, Susan leads indirectly to his downfall. "Quote" He no longer has the spur to fight for success and thus dies a forlorn death. Also, in both novels the central character has one weakness. Lennie's weakness is soft and touchy items which he likes to pet or stroke. "Quote" It is the affection shown here which leads to their downfall. In the Mayor of Casterbridge it is drink that is the weakness for Henchard, it is what starts the story and ends it. "Quote" Henchard sells his wife because he is drunk, and once he has lost everything to Farfrae he returns to the comfort of his sweet liquor inevitably dying shortly after. Dreams play a huge part in both novels, all the characters had dreams but it is fate which has stopped them from reaching their dream. Not only does fate play a role in stopping them from reaching the dreams it also plays a major part in the death of the character. Lennie always wanted a rabbit to tend or a mouse to pet but he was unable to fulfil this dream of getting his own ranch, there was always something stopping them achieving it. He then finds physical attraction to females, and it is this deadly attraction, which drives him to kill Curley's wife leading to his own death. Henchard wants to be successful, he wants to be loved and appreciated but he cannot realise his dream because he is constantly fighting himself and his own isolation and eventually he dies an isolated death. ...read more.

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