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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 concept of the dream in John Steinbeck's of Mice and Men The question above is asking us how the author, John Steinbeck, incorporates the American Dream in his novel, Of Mice and Men. To obtain the knowledge you must look at what the text is telling you in different aspects. The meaning of American Dream in this novel is to some day gain independence, to do this you must work hard. For quite a few the dream is someday achieve this goal, however this goal may change from an illusion to an ambition. In the following pages I will try to interpret the true meaning of The American Dream, to do this I will have to study the author himself, the way he has portrayed his characters, the language he has used and the structure of the novel itself. First we have to define the terms used to understand the story and the characters. The word Dream carries many meanings, which many people get confused about. A Dream can be an illusion, but if you believe it when it is not true you will become deluded. ...read more.

Middle

Another character called slim is also introduced into the story. Slim is portrayed as the 'perfect man', his build, looks, hair style, jaw definition etc are all perfect, "...he moved with a majesty only achieved by royalty and master craftsmen" this clarifies that slim is the perfect man. The Dream to slim is foolish so he does not believe in it. Another worker on the ranch is Carlson he is portrayed as 'average Joe'. Carlson and Slim are both symbols and teach you a lot, Carlson is what people were like during The Great Depression, and Slim is what people should be like during The Great Depression. Carlson is the one who kills Candy's dog once this is acknowledged we are forewarned about George and Lennie, this is a parallel. The New American Dream is money, fame and power through as little as possible. To accomplish this you must go into Hollywood, become an actor. Hollywood was formed during the 1930's - 1950's, it was very successful. The only character that believes in The New American Dream is Curley's wife. She is described as a tart and a lot of trouble, "Jesus, what a tramp". ...read more.

Conclusion

"On the sandy bank...a lizard makes a great skittering among them". The Garden of Eden like atmosphere and the bunk house at the ranch have a very, very high contrast. The Garden of Eden is full of hope, but the bunk house is like a prison. The dream seems virtually impossible in the bunk house. So George has illusions through his time at the bunk house. Another cyclic theme in the novel is when a water snake dies, but another just comes again."...to the legs of a motionless heron that stood in the shallows...and the beak swallowed the little snake while its tail waved frantically...Another little water snake swam up the pool, turning its periscope head from side to side". The American dream is significant as it provides an aim for everyone in life whether it is The New American Dream or The Classical American Dream. The Dream is not about obtaining it or not, it is about the journey towards it. The search for a better life and the companionship in the times of need. The way we deal with the obstacles in front of us and the way we conquer them is what counts. John Steinbeck showed us this through his pen & paper and his great intelligence. ROHIT KALSY 10.V ...read more.

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