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Immigrants dreamed of a better life in America.

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Introduction

From the 17th Century, when the first settlers arrived, immigrants dreamed of a better life in America. People went there to escape from persecution or poverty, and to make a new life for themselves or their families. They dreamed of making their fortunes in the goldfields. For many the dream became a nightmare. The horrors of slavery, of the American Civil War, the growth of towns with slums as bad as those in Europe, and the corruption of the American political system led to many shattered hopes. For the American society as a whole the dream ended with the Wall Street crash of 1929. This was the start of the Great Depression that would affect the whole world during the 1930s. However the dream survived for individuals. Thousands made their way west to California to escape from their farmlands in the mid-West. George and Lennie dreamt of their 'little house and a couple of acres'. The growing popularity of cinema was the last American Dream for many, Curley's wife was one, 'coulda been in the movies, an' had nice clothes.' Huge numbers of men traveled the countryside between the 1880s and the early 1930s harvesting wheat. They earned $2.50 or $3.00 a day, plus food and very basic accommodation. During the 1930s, when there was very bad unemployment in the United States, agencies were set up under the New Deal to send farm workers to where they were needed. George and Lennie got their works cards from Murray and Ready's, one of these agencies. ...read more.

Middle

Since Candy feels that he is old, he places himself in a state of mind that handicaps him more than his missing hand ever will. He looks down on himself as an old worthless man wasting away his last few years. He is often afraid of losing his work, not to mention is whole life, "I got hurt four years ago. They'll can me purty soon. Jus' as soon as I can't swamp out no bunk houses they'll put me on the county." Candy is so down that he puts himself into a state of solitude. He is often allowed to go out with the other guys, but he always refuses due to his negative aspect towards himself. Candy thinks that nobody wants to be friends with him because of his disability. Eventually, he tries to find a friendship by attempting to join the dream of George and Lennie, to own and run their own little ranch. This is one of Candy's desperate attempts to find a place in society and meaning in life. Candy offered his services to become a part of George and Lennie's friendship and dream. "I'll wash dishes an' little chick stuff like that. But I'll be on your own place, an' I'll be let to work on our own place." Candy was attempting to overcome his loneliness and regain a positive outlook by seeking out situations that enable him to get involved with other ranchers. It is quite possible that he was sad and lonely because he was in search of the right person to be friends with. ...read more.

Conclusion

And this makes the reader becomes curious as to their friendship as well. Lennie would call George a friend, but George would perhaps be pushed to admit the same of Lennie. As he tells Slim, he has simply become so used to having Lennie around that he "can't get rid of him". Despite his annoyance, George also demonstrates protectiveness, patience, and pride when it comes to Lennie. He is perhaps motivated to stay with Lennie by a sense of guilt, or responsibility, or pity, or a desire to not be alone himself. Most likely it is a combination of all of these motivations. Yet it seems strange that George would choose to remain with Lennie, given the danger that Lennie causes for the both of them. George is not blind to the fact that life would be easier without Lennie, and he often aches for independence when Lennie becomes troublesome, creating a major source of tension in the novel. This tension is not resolved until the final gunshot by the riverside, when the strain of Lennie's company makes it impossible for George to survive with his companion. By killing Lennie, George removes a huge load. The tragedy is that George, in effect, is forced to shoot both his companion, who made him different from the other lonely workers, as well as his own dream and admit that it has gone hopelessly wrong. His new problem is now hopelessness and loneliness, the life of the homeless ranch worker. Slim's comfort at the end "You hadda George" indicates the sad truth that Lennie has to surrender his dreams in order to survive, not the easiest thing to do in America, the Land of Promise. ...read more.

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