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Compare the American dream with the reality of a migrant worker (Steinbecks - Of Mice and Men)

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COMPARE THE AMERICAN DREAM WITH THE REALITY OF A MIGRANT WORKER Of Mice and Men is a novel written by John Steinbeck in 1937, this novel concentrates on the lives of migrant workers. Steinbeck's purpose is to show the reality of achieving the American Dream- as the title suggests. 'To a Mouse... The best laid schemes o' Mice and Men, Gang aft agley,' is the source of the book's title. It translates roughly into 'no matter how well we may plan the future, things often go wrong. The American dream posed the idea that every individual - through hard work and personal sacrifice could achieve success, by being their own boss on their own land. The American government started this concept; they encouraged the idea by giving out free land. But unfortunately the Wall Street Crash crushed the dream in 1929. The U.S entered a period of economic depression, and during this period hoards of migrant workers came to California in search of work, the dream on their minds. Most of these migrants were men who traveled alone; they had no friends or family around. They moved from ranch to ranch working for a short time at each never able to settle. They worked very hard in poor conditions on poor pay, therefore Migrant workers had to dream of a better future in order to survive. ...read more.


Everything on the ranch was communal, including the eating house and the washhouse. The workers didn't have any privacy, the community was rather like a prison, you don't want to be there and you can't like all the people but you had no choice. Another reality of their lives is they couldn't afford medicines. When they got hungry they would eat turnips - the only thing available, but when they ate turnips they would make you sick, so the men would use ' old wives cures' for example taking a swig of whisky to cure the stomach- ache. Their life was so demeaning; the highlight of a migrant workers week would be going to the brothel on a Saturday night. Crooks is a character that also works on the ranch, but his job is permanent - he is the stable buck. He is called crooks as he has a crooked back, which is the result of a horse kicking him. Crooks is also openly referred to as 'nigger'. He suffers from racism from almost everyone in the ranch, he is shown no respect but shows respect to everyone else. Crooks - who is not a migrant has his own room - a little shed to himself. He is not allowed in the bunkhouse, therefore he doesn't let anyone in his shed. ...read more.


But when he argues with her, she reminds him of his place in society 'I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain't even funny.' She tells him. And then 'crooks had reduced himself to nothing. There was no personality, no ego - nothing to arouse either like or dislike. He said, 'Yes, ma'am,' and his voice was toneless'. Crooks loses all his confidence at this point and he believes he will never be accepted, he sees that his dream was just a dream. Curley's wife dream is sadly over when she dies. Lennie has killed his puppy by stroking it to hard and Curley's wife walks in. Lennie reveals his liking to stroke soft things so she lets him stroke her hair. Lennie strokes too hard on her hair and Curley's Wife starts to shout, so Lennie covers up her mouth and as she begins to struggle he shakes her too hard which results in her breaking her neck. Candy faced his worst fear once Lennie had killed Curley's wife - that the dream wouldn't go through after all. John Steinbeck's point was to show that no matter how hard you plan the future something is likely to go wrong. These people need a dream in order to survive - to look forward to something. But in reality their dreams are unlikely to happen. Amaeka Ekpo - 1 - ...read more.

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