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How does Steinbeck convey his concerns about the American dream through his presentation of George and Lennies dream?

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Introduction

How does Steinbeck convey his concerns about the American dream through his presentation of George and Lennie?s dream? In Steinbeck?s novella ?Of Mice and Men?, he frequently refers to the American Dream, a fantasy beheld by the two main characters George and Lennie. It is nationally held belief, fuelled by one?s desire to have their own home and land, that hard work and commitment lead to success and the potential to have all that you could ever need or desire. However it is suggested in Steinbeck?s non-fiction, ?America and Americans: Paradox and Dreams?, that he does not believe in this. Steinbeck refers to the American dream as an ?illusion?, suggesting that it is unattainable. The word illusion also has connotations of magic or tricks; this implies that Steinbeck thinks of the dream as a deception or ploy made by the United States to trap their natives in a sense of false contentment. Steinbeck states that ?[the dream] never comes to the immigrants?, implying that the achievement of the dream is not really based on hard work and commitment, but who the individual is and whether the people with the power want them to succeed in life. ...read more.

Middle

The reader learns as Lennie does that Curley?s wife poses a threat to their dream, and forebodes that she will have a derogatory affect upon it. George also uses many insulting names in reference to her, including ?jailbait?, suggesting that she is what will eventually lure them to their demise. This is reiterated in the structure in which Curley?s wife is presented. She always enters when the dream is being spoken of, and upon her entrance, the conversation comes to an abrupt stop. This is the situation when she is first introduced to the reader, and the ?sunshine in the doorway [is] cut off?. Curley?s wife stops them from talking about the dream, and also on her first introduction physically cuts off the light in the room in which they are in. This symbolises how her entrance into their lives instantly destroys all hope of achieving their dreams; this is the moments at which the reader knows the dream will never come true, and Curley?s wife will be the one to end it. All in all this emphasises the idea that Steinbeck considers the dream to be an unattainable illusion. ...read more.

Conclusion

This change from ?would? to ?will? creates a shift from suggestion to expectation. The reader has already anticipated that the characters will not achieve their dream, so this creates sympathy for the characters. Steinbeck presents the idea of how even if you know it is impossible for something to come true as George does, the desperation to believe it can eventually makes you oblivious to the impracticality of it. This desperation and longing for more on George and Lennie?s parts makes them as representatives in the novella of all migrant workers during the Great Depression seem tragic. Steinbeck builds George and Lennie?s dream as the exact opposite of the migrant worker lifestyle. The characters believe ?[they]?d belong there?, and the repetitive use of the verb ?belong? highlights the dramatic difference between their life now and the life they envisage in their dream. Steinbeck describes the American dream as a sense of permanency; the dream is ?the hunger for home ? [and] home is a permanent seat?. The life of migrant workers is the antithesis to this, with a complete lack of stability. This is enhances Steinbeck?s concern that the American dream id too ideal and therefore unlikely to ever come true for anyone. ...read more.

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