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Compare the American Dream with the real lives of the migrant workers in the novel "Of Mice and Men".

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Introduction

Compare the American Dream with the real lives of the migrant workers in the novel "Of Mice and Men". For the Examiner: The page numbers in this essay are from the Longman edition of the novel "Of Mice and Men". The ISBN number of this edition is ISBN0582461464. Please take account of this number when marking my paper. In the 1930's American novelists were writing novels about the current life in America and past experiences. One of these novelists was John Ernst Steinbeck. Steinbeck was born on 27 February 1902, in Salinas, California, USA. His parents owned a large amount of land but were not very rich. Steinbeck's mother was a schoolteacher and encouraged him to study and read widely. At primary school, Steinbeck did well. His aunt gave him a copy of Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, his first book that he owned. Steinbeck was academically more advanced than his classmates because of his mother's beforehand influence; he skipped a year at 5th grade and was younger when he attended Salinas High School. At the age of 14 he chose the career as a writer and never abandoned his dream. Graduating from there in 1919, then attending Stanford University. At Stanford he studied Marine Biology, however he was more interested in the surrounding nature of the world and literature. Steinbeck would take long periods of time off to pay for his passion of writing. During a summer vacation he took a year and half off from his studies, where he worked as a labourer. This is where he got his first experience as a migrant worker. He went back to Stanford University and in 1925 he dropped out without a degree and went to New York. His parents wanted him to have a respectable job as a lawyer; but with no degree it was inevitable that he would fail. He grasped a job as a construction worker, but was laid off. ...read more.

Middle

American culture was still in the past in the 1930's; consequently this is why Crooks was seen as an outcast. Only a few generations ago, the slave trade in America was still occurring. When it was abolished the white people of America had to adjust their lifestyle because of the black people of Africa. American culture started evolving for the better. However during the 1930's the white people were still adjusting to the new society, therefore Crooks was still seen as an outcast. The language used focuses on Crooks continually suffering, due to the amount of abuse he gets from the white people. He is either called "stable buck" or "Crooks" which isn't he real name. But the language always has the touch of loneliness in it. He is constantly lonely because there was nowhere for him to go and no one for him to meet. Being the only black person in a large area has to be harsh for him. This type of loneliness could corrupt and destroy a person, which it already has done to Crooks. He is bitter towards the American Dream and believes that the dream is "... jus' in their head..." (Page 106), and a figment of the workers imagination. Crooks' job is permanent, not like the others. This suggests that there will be no change or improvement in the way that he is treated or where he lives. Crooks cannot achieve the American Dream, therefore this philosophy that anybody can succeed, is wrong. Slim receives the longest introductory description of any character in the novel (Pages 55-56), which illustrates the importance of him in the plot. Words such as "majesty" and "authority" are used to describe him as a great teacher or philosopher. He is also described as the " Prince of the ranch". Slim is like a god but not as powerful, that is why he was not able to stop the shooting of Candy's dog. He is not cruel, but will kill if he needs to. ...read more.

Conclusion

(Pages 31-32). This quotation said by George explains how the migrant workers have no real future ahead of them, just more time to be lonely. In my opinion Steinbeck has presented and interpreted the American culture very well. He has included all the parts that were presently happening. Such parts like Crooks being rejected because he was black. This occurred a lot at that time because the white people were still in the slave trade kind of mind. That's were black people received so much abuse and why Crooks did too. The Great Depression had all of the population of the USA feeling low and Steinbeck portrayed it superbly. He did this by showing all the migrant workers had come on their own to make some money; this also illustrates the loneliness felt by all the people on the ranch. He included different types of discrimination shown in the real world as well as the novel. Crooks was discriminated against race because he was the only black person in town. Blacks were different and were being abused. Curley's wife was discriminated against sex because she was the only woman on the ranch. Women at this time were seen as possessions and not people. Candy was discriminated against age because he was the oldest on the ranch. The elderly were not useful so they were paid small amounts for jobs and then put aside. He had also lost his left hand making him a reject. He is also slight discrimination against Lennie's intelligence. In my opinion, with all of these points Steinbeck has been able to illustrate the culture in 1930's America, he has shown how ever little thing can help describe the process of living to a higher extent. With these attitudes in the novel Steinbeck was able to portray the American Dream as bleak and useless. It was not able to accomplish anyone's dreams, it just seemed as a distant hope or a vision. This could have been Steinbeck's thought towards the American Dream, even though he was able to fulfil his American Dream by becoming a novelist. ...read more.

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