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Of Mice and Men By John Steinbeck

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Introduction

Of Mice and Men By John Steinbeck TABLE OF CONTENTS A. Background Information 1. Describe the historical background to the novel i.e. the USA in the mid/late 1930's B. Summary 1. Write a plot summary D. Character Description 1. George 2. Lennie 3. Slim 4. Candy 5. Crooks 6. Curley 7. Curley's wife E. Essays 1. How significant is the theme of loneliness in Of Mice and Men? 2. To what extent is it correct that The Great Gatsby, Death of a Salesman and Of Mice and Men explore important, but different aspects of 'The American Dream'? 3. What is the importance of dreams and dreaming to the success of Of Mice and Men? A. Background Information Describe the historical background to the novel i.e. the USA in the mid/late 1930's The USA of the mid and late 1930 was still suffering from the Great Depression. Many thousands were unemployed and had lost their homes. These people would often wander around the country, searching for jobs and a place to rest. John Steinbeck clearly outlines the lives of these men, traveling around from one job to the next, in his book Of Mice and Men. The depression had been caused by the stock market crash in 1929. Most Americans blamed President Hoover because he had been the President at the time and did know what to do about it. The Midwest suffered even more as the dust bowl crisis came into play. As the employees were dependant on their jobs employers could easily cut wages or even make them move at their will. When Roosevelt came into office he initiated many government programs supporting the suffering Americans. B. Summary Write a plot summary George Milton and Lennie Small, two migrant workers, arrive south of Soledad and spend a night next to Salinas River. As the two settle down it becomes clear that Lennie, a tall man with a "shapeless" face, has some sort of mental disability while George is relatively short and seems rather intelligent. ...read more.

Middle

Showing how much he needs to believe in something better and nicer than the world he is living in. Crooks Crooks is a black stable-hand who is excluded because of his skin color. He of course is very lonely and all he does is read books alone in his bunk house. Through his loneliness he has already started becoming aggressive and bitter; however he asks Lennie whether he can join them in their dream of their own farm. Curley Curley is the son of the boss. He is rather small and is rumored to be a champion prize-fighter. He uses his position as the boss's son to bully people and hereby exhibits a very mean-spirited and aggressive character. In addition he has just recently married and follows jealous suspicions he has of his wife and other men on the farm. Curley's wife Curley's wife was not given a name because women in general are treated with contempt in this novel. She is married to Curley but is not very happy with him. Therefore she starts flirting with the men on the farm. She is isolated from the others because they see trouble in her as George mentions when Lennie says he thought she was "purty" that he should stay away from her and Curley. Overall she is very dissatisfied with her life and she thinks she should have followed her dream of becoming a movie star. D. Essays 1. How significant is the theme of loneliness in Of Mice and Men? Loneliness is a state of detachment, separation, and isolation and a feeling of being friendless and forlorn. The book Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck picks up this feeling as one of it's main themes. Several characters from the novel either isolate themselves or are being isolated. The main characters George and Lennie on the other hand have a strong relationship and many others envy them for this but even those two find themselves confronted with loneliness in some way. ...read more.

Conclusion

He wants to provide his family with money and well advertised machines, which for him stand for success. The problem behind this is that he does not see anything but the materialistic things in life. The society of the time and his ideals have given him a very depicted view of what he must reach and this is exactly what he breaks upon. Instead of seeing what he has in his family, he sees what he couldn't reach. When he realizes that he is a failure in terms of his own definition of success he thinks that in his death he can give his family more than he could during his lifetime - the life insurance money. A perverted version of the American Dream is displayed in this novel touching on the roots of the American Dream itself. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald once again criticizes the idea behind the American Dream. The American Dream says that anyone no matter what background they can come from can have success. Gatsby comes from a rather poor background and makes a fortune. This still does not enable him to reach what he is actually longing for, his love Daisy. He has no reputation and does not belong to the American aristocracy and exactly that is what keeps him from fulfilling his dream. At last he dies in protecting Daisy. This seems extremely unfair and is clearly a criticism on this aspect of the American Dream. All of these three different books have given different views on the American Dream and spotlighted on different aspects of it. Every single one of these aspects is as important as the other ones no matter whether they are critical or have a positive message towards the American Dream. Some of these seem to overlap and contradict but overall it becomes very clear when looking at all three pieces of writing what the flaws of the American Dream are and what is so special about it. English Philipp R�diger Of Mice and Men 21.11.2004 -1- ...read more.

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