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Discuss the ways in which Steinbeck explores how the concept of the 'American Dream'is central to the novel Of Mice and Men "We've got a future and we're gonna get a place" The American Dream

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Introduction

Discuss the ways in which Steinbeck explores how the concept of the 'American Dream'is central to the novel Of Mice and Men "We've got a future and we're gonna get a place" The American Dream is an ideal that has been 'dreamt' of since America was founded. The American Dream symbolises happiness, prosperity, equality and freedom. It was a strong idea, believed and supported by many, including most of the characters in the novel. People used the idea of the American Dream to help them stay positive, in what could be for some, quite a lonely and bleak life. For example, George used his and Lennie's hope of one day owning a farm to help Lennie progress and keep him happy when something had gone wrong. Even today, people still believe America to be the 'Land of Opportunity' and thousands of people each year try to become an American citizen in the hope that their life would improve. However, it was, and still is not, the perfect life it lived up to be. The main and most obvious link between the novel and the idea of an American Dream is George and Lennie's hope of one day owning a farm, "An' live off the fatta the land" (page 14). ...read more.

Middle

Steinbeck makes most of the characters unhappy, and not letting them have their dream, further depicts his unhappiness and lack of faith in the idea. His bitterness about the failure of his dream is portrayed in the novel, when all the characters dreams have collapsed and Steinbeck tells us, as an underlying message, that the American Dream, for most people, was completely unachievable. Steinbeck travelled around America, looking for work, like the men on the ranch, so he knew what it was like to feel lonely and have no real home or roots:"Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world". (page 14) He may have felt lonely in his experiences of travelling, and describes George and Lennie's friendship as a relationship he would have liked to have had himself. The American Dream was often not exactly what people imagined. It is meant to be about equality, freedom, prosperity, and a better life for all. However, this idea, in many cases, is definitely unfounded. There is a great deal of prejudice and lack of equality throughout the novel. A few main examples of this are, most prominently, the fact that Crooks, the stable buck, is completely cut off from the other men, simply for being black. ...read more.

Conclusion

There are no other women on the ranch and she has nothing to do. She tries to befriend the men by hanging round the bunkhouse; however they seem to think she is flirting and call her a 'tart'. Crooks is segregated from the other men, just for being black, he wishes desperately for some companionship and is thrilled when Lennie and Candy give him some company for the night. Finally, the ranch itself is cut off and isolated from all other civilisation. Steinbeck depicts this by making George and Lennie have to walk for a long time to eventually arrives and only occasionally mentioning the town and no-where else. In summary the American Dream definitely lives up to its name; it truly is just a dream. The American Dream is lived out mainly through George and Lennie and their hopes of one day owning a farm, but all of the other characters have their ideas for a better life also. Of Mice and Men has consistent theme throughout, displaying how the 'dream' provides hope to its characters to protect them from the harsh reality of life where loneliness, poverty and injustice is the so common. The final ending, when Lennie dies and the other characters dreams collapse, confirms that the American Dream is unobtainable, but can truly be believed by all. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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