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Discuss the importance of dreams in Of Mice and Men

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Introduction

Discuss the importance of dreams in Of Mice and Men Steinbeck's novella Of Mice and Men is set in America in the 1930s. This was a time and a place where some people were discriminated against because of their lifestyle. The fundamental cause of this was a hierarchy that existed within American civilisation. The rich and the powerful were given a place in society whereas the working class were outcasts. Of Mice and Men is a novella of outcasts. Steinbeck explores how discrimination dominates the lives of these outcasts: racial discrimination against Crooks, age discrimination against Candy, gender discrimination against Curley's wife and discrimination against Lennie because of his mental disability. The similarity between all the outcasts is that they all dream of an existence where they are not the victims of discrimination, and this dream is their sole motivation in life. Their dream is the American Dream. Through these outcasts, Steinbeck details everything that was morally wrong with 1930s America. The reason for this was the instability of the 1930s American economy; the Wall Street crash in 1929 being one example. The result of this was a high level of unemployment, and it was these people who were the outcasts. 1930s America rejects Lennie because of his mental ineptitude. ...read more.

Middle

Although he is not progressing in life; he is not digressing. But given the opportunity he also clings on to Lennie, George and Candy's dream. This shows that although he does not dream, he has longings and desires. Steinbeck reveals this through use of nostalgic language, in Crooks' desire to re-experience the feeling of equality he felt when he was a child, "The white kids came to play at our place, an' sometimes I went to play with them." Crooks dreams of equality, this is evident in the books he reads; in particular the Californian Civil Code. He longs for a civilisation where he can be treated equally. For Crooks, his desire for equality dominates his life as dreams dominate the lives of the other outcasts. Candy is discriminated against because he is old and useless. In an environment where respect is earned through physical competence, Candy has no respect from his fellow ranch workers. However, the most painful thing for Candy is the feeling of not belonging and lack of purpose. He has these feelings because he is old and has lived most of his life; he has left no mark on the world. Other workers, younger workers, like Whit, have dreams of making a mark on the world as Candy probably had when he was younger. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is ironic how the death of the forgotten outcast brings about the end of all the other outcasts' dreams. To conclude, dreams are important in the novella because they are the only thing the outcasts can cling on to. They are discriminated against to the extent that they cannot achieve success; they are doomed to failure. Even their dreams, the only means by which they can escape the monotony of 1930s America, are destroyed by their compromised circumstances. Steinbeck shows the reader how important dreams are for the poor. Only the poor that have a dream can live their lives with their dream as an incentive. Steinbeck sums up the injustice of 1930s America at the end of the novella. Curley's dream of killing Lennie comes true, it is an evil dream and it is the only one in the novella that comes true; the dream of one man with a little power and authority over the dreams of all the poor. (Although Crooks' dream of equality does become true it is a long time after the novella is written, and he does not experience this so it can be said that his dream did not come true) Through the dreams of the poor Steinbeck conveys many things that were wrong with 1930s America. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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