• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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.

Extracts from this document...

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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE John Steinbeck section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE John Steinbeck essays

  1. Many Of The Characters In Of Mice And Men Have Dreams. What Are Their ...

    I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely." She did this to make him feel sorry for her and give in to her cunning ways. She had finally found someone dumb enough to listen to her pitiful life story without passing a judgment on her and it all started from, "Maybe I will yet."

  2. Of Mice and Men

    the possibility of tending the future rabbits, most likely because it will afford him a chance to pet their soft hides as much as he wishes. Nevertheless, a dream is a dream, different for everyone, and George and Lennie share the similar attribute of desiring what they haven't got.

  1. "Character is fate" wrote Hardy. How far do you think Henchard in "The Mayor ...

    He then treats her badly, pushing her away. It is because of this that she moves in with Lucetta. He had 'showed a positive dislike for the presence of this girl not his own, whenever he encountered her.' Here is an example of the strong narrative portraying Henchard as a

  2. Discuss the role of dreams in Of Mice and Men and their impact upon ...

    "Lennie broke in. 'But not us! An' why? Because..because I got you to look after me and you got me to look after you and that's why.' He laughed delightedly, 'Go on now George! You got it by heart you can do it yourself!" George and Lennie use the story as a way to help them get by

  1. Discuss the importance of dreams in Of Mice and Men

    It is made even more apparent to the reader at the end of the book that their dream is their only incentive in life, "Come on George. Me an' you'll go in an' get a drink." Lennie is dead and suddenly the dream is no longer achievable.

  2. Discuss the importance of dreams in "Of Mice and Men"

    At this time, cinemas had become very popular in America. People with normal quiet lives believed that they could become actors/actresses and believed everything people told them about their acting. America was not fully developed at the time and had a lot of free land/landscape.

  1. Describe the Dreams of the Characters in "Of Mice & Men".

    This phrase insinuates George wants his future to reflect his ideal childhood memories. The verb ?could? which suggests the potential to succeed which consolidates the heavenly idea of the dream in contrast with the hopeless and depressing lives of others.

  2. Explore the ways Steinbeck presents Characters desires and dreams in Of Mice and Men

    They say I stink. Well I tell you, you all stink to me?. Crooks is forced to live in confinement in the barn and turns to his books and magazines as his only sort of correlation with the outside world. This eventually leads to emotional downfall.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work