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How significant is the concept of the American Dream in the novel Of Mice and Men?

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Introduction

How significant is the American Dream in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men? To obtain the knowledge of the significance of the American Dream in its entirety we will have to delve John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men looking deeper than the letters on the page. In this novel the interpretation of the American Dream is to someday gain independence. For many the Dream is hope to achieve a goal, yet it can be an illusion of hope for someone who himself believes that one day he could lead a better life. In the following pages I will try to interpret the true meaning of the American Dream in as many aspects as possible and also I will explore the way that John Steinbeck, the author, has centred his characters, language and structure around the hope given by the American Dream. The Classic American Dream is to achieve independence and freedom through hard work and through owning your own piece of land. "Live off the fatta' the land". To many in the story the Dream is to be sought after alone, but for George loneliness is what drives a man to the edge, he needs a companion even if it is the childlike mind of Lennie. ...read more.

Middle

Carlson is the average Joe in the ranch. Carlson is symbolic of what people in the depression are like and Slim is symbolic of what they should be like in the depression. When Carlson kills Candy's dog it draws parallels to George and Lennie and therefore provides us with a forewarning of what may happen. The Modern American Dream is wealth, power, and fame through as little effort as possible especially on the land. The new American Dream was born during the 1930-50's with the birth of Hollywood. The only character who believes in the Modern American Dream is Curley's wife. She is introduced to us on page 32. She is a tart and a lot of trouble. She wears a lot of red which signals danger for the rest of the ranch. She is portrayed as a lustful person. The author immediately tells us of her part in the play as she is first introduced. "Rectangle of sunshine in the doorway was cut off" the rays of sunlight in the story signify the hope of the American Dream but Curley's wife cuts off the light which ultimately says that Curley's wife is an obstacle in gaining the independence of the American Dream. ...read more.

Conclusion

The start; "On the sandy bank...a lizard makes a great skittering among them"; the end "In front of the low horizontal limb of a giant sycamore" The Eden-like California and the bunk house are complete contrasts in this story as the Eden is vast, open land and the bunk house seems a sort of prison for the ranch workers. In the bunk house the dream seems impossible. And so George daydreams for escapism from the constraints of the bunkhouse. Another reminder of his cyclic them is when at the end a snake, links to Eden, dies and then straight away another comes along reiterating the cyclic theme that runs it way throughout the novel. So significant is the American Dream to provide a goal that every human longs to obtain, but it is not really the obtainment that matters here, it is in the journey. It is a dream to set your path towards in the hope of attaining that ever elusive victory within; the search for a better life and a companion to cherish in times of need. Whether or not it is reached is not the point. How we handle the journey and the obstacles that are shoved in front of us is what gives us the strength to go on. Author John Steinbeck depicted the Dream in his characters, language and structure expertly. ...read more.

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