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How does Steinbeck show that the American dream is just a myth?

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Of Mice and Men By John Steinbeck How does Steinbeck show that the American dream is just a myth? Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, is set in Salinas, California in the 1930's at the time of The Great Depression. The book is about the lives of two working men and it covers topics such as industrialisation and racism, both important issues in the USA at the time. All the workers had their own personal dream to achieve (The American Dream), but none of them managed to achieve their dreams and in the end the American dream proves to be unachievable. The two main characters are George and Lennie and they dream of owning their own ranch. George is described as small with sharp features with, "a thin and bony nose" (p. 2). George quite often gets fed up with Lennie because he is so forgetful and he gets into trouble. When this happens, George is the one who always has to solve the problems and to get them out of trouble. George and Lennie share a dream. Really it is Lennie's dream, but George articulates it for the both of them. The dream is to own their own bit of land. He describes the plight of ranch workers, "Guys like us, that work on ranches are the loneliest guys in the world." ...read more.


Poor Lennie didn't mean any harm, but that wasn't the point, the whole town wanted him dead. When George and Lennie finally arrived at the ranch more characters were introduced into the story. "The door opened and a tall, stooped-shouldered old man . . . a big push-broom in his left hand." (p. 18). This is the old swamper. He worked at the ranch sweeping. Sweeping was all he could do there because he had no right hand, which he had lost in an industrial accident. He shows George and Lennie to the boss. The old swamper was definitely a one to gossip as he informed George and Lennie about every man who worked at the ranch, along with a tale about each. Also the old man had a very old sheep-dog "At his heals walked a drag-footed sheep-dog, grey of muzzle . . . licking his grizzled, moth-eaten coat." (p. 25). The old Swamper had the same dream as George and Lennie so they let him in on their plan to make as much money as possible towards their dream house and land etc. The boss's son Curley, " a young man came into the bunk-house . . .with a brown face, brown eyes and a head of tightly curled hair." ...read more.


The trouble is that in practice, most people need to be born rich to make it. It is a great dream for the lucky few that succeed, but a source of disillusionment for the rest. All the main characters in Steinbeck's book had a dream for a better life and future. Their dreams kept them going when times were tough and they had no money. During the depression, times were indeed very hard. Far from getting any closer to achieving their life's ambitions, most people struggled to survive from day to day. George and Lennie's beans without ketchup is a metaphor of their lives, all work and function but no luxury and fun. The whole story is basically sad, because nobody is getting anywhere and their lives are not getting any better. They cannot earn enough money to save up a stake for their dreams. This is proof that their dreams are not coming true. The book portrays America during the 1930's as a land with no equal opportunities or rights for ethnic minorities, poor or disabled people. The good American life was just a dream after all. The trouble with dreams is that they're not real. George and Lennie's dream was just a bunch of words repeated over and over. At the beginning these words were said "rhythmically", but by the end, they are spoken "monotonously", when George finally accepts his dreams will never come to fruition. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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