• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explain how the idea of the American Dream is explored in 'Of Mice and Men'. You should discuss how the novel describes the attraction of the dream and how it shows the dreams of characters being dashed

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Explain how the idea of the American Dream is explored in 'Of Mice and Men'. You should discuss how the novel describes the attraction of the dream and how it shows the dreams of characters being dashed The title, Of Mice and Men, came from the saying "The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray and leave us nothing but pain for what might have been". This is such a well-chosen name for the novel because it explains the factors leading to the characters' dreams. The novel was written during the Great Depression of 1930 in the United States of America. It tells the tragic story of George and Lennie, two displaced Anglo itinerant farm workers in California during the Great Depression (1929-1939). The story is set on a ranch, a few miles from Soledad in the Salinas Valley. In the following essay I will explain their dreams. I will also show how they plan to fulfil these dreams. Also I will clarify what finally happens to their dreams. It is human nature to have dreams, or the hopes one has for the future. Even dreams that are never accomplished are good, because they keep people going on when they normally would have given up. Dreams are something to look forward to, something to fantasize about. A dream is something one indulges in, to escape momentarily from life. In the book, Of Mice and Men, dreams are what every character seems to be craving. In George and Lennie's case, that something is land. It is natural for men in their situation, itinerant workers in the Great Depression, to imagine working on their own land and being their own bosses. Their dream is simple in some ways yet very complex in others. The dream apparently began as just a story that George told Lennie, perhaps as a way of calming Lennie down, or to keep him focused on working, but after some time, it seemed that George started to believe in the dream himself. ...read more.

Middle

But to top the big burden of loneliness on her, she discovers that her husband "ain't a nice fella," and that there is no one to care for her. She also dreams of being accepted 'Ain't I got a right to talk to nobody? Whatta they think I am anyways?' this makes the reader feel the sorrow of this woman whose dreams have been smashed to smithereens. The American Dream, at this point, probably doesn't sound like it is going to happen. 'Hard work can lead to a better life', Curley's Wife is working hard to make friends and to be accepted for the only woman on the ranch. Instead of something to call her own, she wants fame 'a show come through, an' I met one of the actors. He says I could go with the show'. Her dream of fame is more modern like a 20th century dream of fame rather than a 1930s dream of fame. She also wants fortune and admiration 'Nother time I met a guy....He says he was gonna put me in the movies. Says I was a natural. But with all this sudden faith comes her downfall 'Soon's he got back to Hollywood he was gonna write to me about it...I never got that letter.' This shows that Curley's Wife had high hopes of achieving things just like the other characters. It is important to keep dreams alive, even if they are unrealistic. Her dreams come to an abrupt holt when she makes the biggest mistake of her life by letting Lennie touch her hair. 'Let go...You let go'. This ends with her getting killed. Curley's wife shares her secret dream of being a performer with Lennie, only to have that dream shattered, quite similar to her neck. She is not a storybook wife, and that is what Curley wants. Curley's Wife's dream is in a matter of fact, hopeless because it is a very na�ve dream. ...read more.

Conclusion

In some ways Crooks' dream is hopeless and isn't hopeless because in 1930 even though people hated black people, Crooks' found a friend in George and Lennie. It wasn't until 1960 that black people finally got understood by help from the Civil Right Movement, led by Martin Luther King. Curley also has a dream that lots of 'short people' have, to be bigger. Curley seems very bitter about being short, and he tries to make himself out to be the tough guy on the ranch. 'Well, nex' time you answer when you're spoke to.' This suggests that Curley thinks he has a lot of authority, being the boss' son, but being short has its disadvantages because all the people he picks fights with on the ranch are always bigger than him, 'Curley's like a lot of little guys. He hates big guys. He's alla time picking scraps with big guys'. His wife is the only negative aspect to his dream. The American Dream doesn't really correspond to Curley because he isn't one of the representative characters, like George and Lennie the itinerant workers and Curley's Wife the only women and Crooks the black stable buck and Candy the old swamper. Dreams can build one up with hope and excitement, but they can also tear one down with disappointment at the dream failing to come true. Curley picks a fight with Lennie, and the main reason for this is Lennie's size. Curley's dream is in many ways hopeless because no one can determine how high someone will turn out. Curley will just have to deal with being small. In addition, in many ways it is more of an advantage being small. In conclusion, the American Dream is really a figment of everyone's imagination, except for those lucky few who strike it rich or win the lottery. "I never got that letter," she said. That was their American Dream, one which didn't come true. To put it shorter, even though the American Dream doesn't always mean true happiness, it's nice to have hope sometimes. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ayiesha Buckle 07/05/2007 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE John Steinbeck section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE John Steinbeck essays

  1. "Hopes and Dreams Help People to Survive, Even if they can Never Become Real"How ...

    It makes him too feel worthy of something. Crooks' role is to prepare the reader with his pessimism for the failure of the dream. This dream helps all these four men in a positive way as it gives them all incentive to work harder, save money and not spend it all at the brothel, it helps build friendship and trust.

  2. Why I think Candy was added by John Steinbeck to his book

    Curley's wife and Crooks appear to resemble one another in their situation. They have been made outsiders and been isolated by the other ranchers in effect of their physical appearance. Their appearances stand as obstacles in their way of making companions; crooks due to his disability and the racial-prejudice of

  1. Hopes and dreams are important in "Of Mice and Men." Discuss.

    George and Lennie had something the majority of the other migrant workers lacked: they travelled together. Other workers travelled alone, however George and Lennie had each other. The always had, and always would. Steinbeck stressed this point throughout his novella, usually in dialogue between George and Lennie; where George would

  2. In this assignment I will explain why the main characters in Willy Russell's "Blood ...

    Curley writhes in agony and Lennie is too scared to let go, despite George urging him to do so. After much yelling and slapping in the face on George's part, Lennie releases Curley's mangled hand.

  1. Of Mice and Men. Explore the theme of the American dream and importance ...

    Candy is a old man his physical condition is that he is disabled, a quote showing that he's got no hand is," he pointed with his arm right arm, and out of the sleeve came a round stick like wrist, but no hand".

  2. It's possible to feel sorry for all the characters in 'Of Mice and Men' ...

    Also because although Lennie retaliated, he done so in self defence and was unaware of what the outcome of his strength would be. Thus from looking at these incidents, they don't make me feel considerate towards Curley. He had full authority, hence could have put his wife under his rule, yet he never attempted to do so.

  1. Comparing of mice and men with the withered arm.

    in and crook's dream is that of the coloured man during this time in history, to have equal rights and companionship In the withered arm dreams are also extremely important but some are shown are shown in a completely different way to the dreams in Of Mice and Men.

  2. Describe the Dreams of the Characters in "Of Mice & Men".

    was also uncommon at the time of the ?American Depression ?, as nobody would help another person. In-addition George desires to share his dream with Lennie, in-order to keep Lennie happy and to keep him as a companion. ?I could build a smoke house like the one grand ?pa had.?

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work