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Of Mice and Men: Compare 'The American Dream' with the real lives of the migrant workers Of Mice and Men (OMaM) was first published in 1937

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Introduction

Of Mice and Men: Compare 'The American Dream' with the real lives of the migrant workers Of Mice and Men (OMaM) was first published in 1937 and is written by John Steinbeck. It is based on America in the 1930's. It is a story about the extraordinary friendship between two itinerant workers in the harsh American depression during the 1930's. The title of the novel is named after a poem written by Burns. The title shows how many living things are often powerless to face greater forces than they are. The title is a constant reminder that failure is often inescapable and dreams are not fulfiled as we build up our hopes so high picturing these and when everything collapses, we have nothing to fall back on. This is shown with George in the novel as, with the death of Lennie, all of his original dreams fall away. The American dream is the notion that: "everyone is created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". The novel focuses on two workers called Lennie and George who are looking for work and find it in a typical American ranch full of fellow itinerant workers. The 'American Dream' is present in the story and at the time, it was felt, and promised by president Hoover, that a man or woman from anywhere could achieve anything, however, the weaknesses of the dream itself are highlighted in the novel. Despite this, there was still racial segregation in society and this is also demonstrated in the story with a character called Crooks. He is insulted constantly and is called "nigger" throughout by the other people on the ranch. During the Wall Street crash in 1929, the great depression swept all through America and Steinbeck highlights this throughout the novel. The lifestyle of the itinerants is an example of this as they just go to the "cathouse" and spend all of their earnings as soon as they have it. ...read more.

Middle

Although hope is not truly apparent in the novel, Slim is the closest character who shows that way inclined. In the novel he is suggested to be quite majestic and quite "Godlike". An example of this is the way that he is allowed into the boss' shed without having to ask. As the workers there have no real family that they see very often, if at all. Slim is the closest person they have to a family member. He is seen by the ranch members as kind and comforting and is trusted. The way that he had the 'final say' in the decision with Candy's dog is an indication of this. He also seems to be apparent at all of the key moments in the novel. As well as being there for Candy's dog, he sorts everything out when Curley has his hand broken and he says that Lennie "I guess we gotta get 'im." His intelligence was also highlighted as he knew about Lennie's death and was the only one to comfort him. The way that such a nice person is caught in such a harsh climate is there to highlight the dream and perhaps its failure. Unlike all of the other workers, he seems content with his current position in the ranch. It seems like he has taken in his current situation and has realised that fulfilling a dream would be very hard if not impossible. He offers security and kindness in such a harsh depression. Slim symbolises a dream that is different from the American dream; he offers a dream not based on basic desire or greed that so many people show. As it states in the text "the prince of the ranch". The word "prince" automatically symbolises someone who has a lot of authority and is respected, like Slim. Also, Slim is the only person that Curley's wife addresses by name. ...read more.

Conclusion

Like George's moods, his dreams will change as well. When George says "I got to thinking that maybe we would would" it shows that by killing Lennie, he extinguished all hopes of ever achieving the dream. Therefore, by killing Lennie, he commits himself to living the life of a single man and perhaps never being truly happy. The dream does this to quite a lot of people and as they begin to take in the circumstances and realise the truth, the dream disappears. In conclusion, it is clear that Steinbeck was very thoughtful in writing the novel and he brings into question the foundations of the American society, including the American dream and how if affected itinerant workers like George and Lennie. In the novel, nature is made to appear idyllic and beautiful. This is represented in the beginning of the book as where Lennie and George are staying there is no bunkhouse, no work, no decisions and no problems. The water is said to be "twinkling over the yellow sands in the sunlight". This sounds wonderful however, George warns Lennie that the water is "scummy". Also, the way the water snake is eaten by the heron, shows survival of the fittest. Also, Lennie says he will live in a cave however, he probably couldn't survive in the wild if he was given the chance. Nature both starts and ends the novel; it starts by the pool with life and dreams and ends, by the pool, but with death and the collapse of dreams. The language in the novel isn't very complicated however it shows how itinerant workers may sound "dumb" but they are actually quite clever. For example, Crooks reads a lawyer book but his language includes "I ain't so crippled I can't work like a son-of-a-bitch if I want to". Like the novel, there is a background message that isn't apparent without cross-examintaion. ?? ?? ?? ?? Aaron Lavin Mr. Coals 1 ...read more.

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