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Dreams and visions that motivate the characters of "Of Mice and Men"

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Introduction

What dreams and visions motivate the characters of "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck, and what obstacles, if any, prevent them from becoming reality? No matter how well we plan the future, things often go wrong. 'Of Mice and Men', a novella by John Steinbeck, highlights the despair and misfortune of the American citizens in the 1930s. Following the collapse of the New York Wall Street stock market, the US entered a prolonged period of economic depression. During this period of failed business, harsh poverty and long-term unemployment, thousands of migrant workers came to California in search for work. In attempts to escape the 'dust bowl' (a series of droughts and failed crops) workers migrated west, but to find themselves in no better state; slaving in ranches from day to day, poorly paid, poorly fed with nothing to loose but their hopes of pursuing "The American Dream" and indeed, as Steinbeck illustrates, these hopes can be lost. Having lived and experienced this lifestyle, Steinbeck presents his views of society in the 1930s in the form of the characters of this book. He shows that the simplest elements of identity can be the reason of the shattering of one's dream. The luxuries of "The Promised Land", the dream of being rescued of fear and loneliness and the desire to live a happy life are but visions of a supernatural future for the characters of this novel. Loneliness is a common quality that a ranch- hand would possess, however, weather or not it is an advantage can be argued. ...read more.

Middle

"He whined,' A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody.'" Here Steinbeck blames the social attitudes, we pity Crooks by the way he "whines" telling us how his dreams have almost been beaten out of him and which now have been reduced to memories. In contrast, George and Lennie's dream represents one's success if accompanied by a partner. This dream was the closest to becoming true as there seemed to be no faults in it. However, when Lennie dies, the dream becomes impossible to achieve. Perhaps like Crooks, this dream will become but a memory to George. Crooks' memories of his childhood mirror George, Lennie and Candy's dream, both similar in the way they were based on being free, happy and being around people; "The American Dream". Also, both dreams similarly extinguished due to the effects of the people around them. When Lennie dies, George's dream becomes extinct, likewise, Crooks' dreams end when he is separated from his family, left with no motivation, ambition or vision to look forward to every day. This injustice, however, might be seen beneficial to some characters. For example, at the ranch, Curley has the upper hand; power, money and a wife. This is because, the prejudice society of the 1930s allowed offenders like Curley to take advantage of less valued people, enjoying some benefits of the "American Dream" at the expense of the weaker characters. Another view would be that on the contrary, Curley, though mighty and powerful demonstrates the suffering caused by prejudice. ...read more.

Conclusion

Her attempts to fulfil her wishes backfire on her every time. She was disrespected and called a "tart" when she merely tried to find company. This is ironic as the ranch hands repeatedly talk about going to the "cat house" and having "a hell of a lot of fun". This illustrates the way women were considered property, men could think of them as they liked. They were not to have dreams but if they did their dreams were known not to have come true, simply because they are women. "Of Mice and Men" is indeed a tragic story of how prejudice, racism, sexism and intolerance of the weak prevented people from achieving their dreams. In this novella Steinbeck demonstrates the disturbing effects of rejecting those who are not seen worthy enough in the community. He blames society and, as I see it, mainly the physically and mentally strong white men for perpetuating with this concept. These men are even blamed for their own pathetic ways of life, they are the reason no one can achieve "The American Dream" because the "weaker" beings are part of this dream too. Steinbeck shows us how society is the main influence on people's lives. If one is not accepted in society, then their hopes and dreams will perish despite the injustice and immorality it may bring. He disgraces society for its prejudice ways and holds it responsible for the suffering of all of its members, weak or strong. ?? ?? ?? ?? Fatima Salman The British School of Bahrain 90306 "Other Cultures" ...read more.

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