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To what extent is their dream typical of the time and what does John Steinbeck conclude in the novel as to the feasibility of pursuing dreams in 1930s America.

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Introduction

George and Lennie's fragile dream to buy a small ranch of their own is a powerful symbol in the novel for what is commonly known as the 'American Dream'. To what extent is their dream typical of the time and what does John Steinbeck conclude in the novel as to the feasibility of pursuing dreams in 1930s America. George and Lennie's dream of the small ranch is not ambitious. It is a very simple idea of becoming self-sufficient and independent which I think almost certainly stems from the lifestyle which they are leading - because their migrant, itinerant lifestyle is so unstable and uncertain, they don't want to have to rely on other people. At the time this book was written, during the depth of the depression era in America, there were many others in the country who had the same dream of self-sufficiency. This was because the lives of many Americans had dramatically changed and nothing seemed to be certain. Some who had previously been successful businessmen were now living in shantytowns on the edges of cities, nicknamed 'Hoovervilles' after Ex-president Herbert Hoover. Many others from the farming business found themselves having to leave their homes and become migrant farm workers, taking any job they could find just to survive and send some money home to their families. One of the defining differences of George and Lennie's dream from that of millions of other migrant workers is that they are alone in the world with only each other. They do not have a family waiting at home for them; they are each other's family. They are also different from the other migrant workers ('the loneliest guys in the world1') ...read more.

Middle

He is allowed to play horseshoes with the other guys but otherwise spends his evenings alone. It is when he is talking about this loneliness to Lennie that Crooks becomes angry with the other ranch hands and take this anger out on Lennie as he is the only one who talks to him. He also tries to make Lennie feel insecure about his friendship with George13 because he is jealous of it. When Crooks first hears about George and Lennie's dream he is very dismissive of it. He says, 'you guys is just kiddin' yourself' and that 'ever' guy got land in his head.' 14 This shows not only that many others had the same dream of getting their own land but also that they did not achieve this dream, showing Steinbecks' view on the subject. He doesn't want to get his hopes up because he has seen it all before and understands that the life of a migrant worker in this turbulent time means always moving on. However, when he finds out they have the money, he allows himself to believe in it and to feel hopeful about it. This shows money was always the problem for previous dreamers he met - this is significant as it was a time of economic depression so money was everything to some people. Those with it had power, those without had nothing. As soon as Crooks thinks the dream could happen, he tries to involve himself in it, becoming so excited that he can't even get the words out15. The dream gives Crooks the hope that he will be worth something to somebody and valued on the small ranch, something he doesn't get on the ranch at the moment. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, the reasons characters have this dream vary and are not typical of the time because they are not in typical circumstances. George has the added responsibility of Lennie, Lennie has a mental disadvantage, Candy has a physical disability and Crooks has both a physical and social disadvantage. These are difficulties which were not faced by the majority of the population. In the novel, Steinbeck concludes that, no matter how hard people try, dreams in 1930s America were very difficult to pursue and almost impossible to achieve. The only characters in the novel who it can be said achieve their dreams in any way are Lennie and Curley's Wife and the price they pay is great. This is how Steinbeck expresses his opinions of the fragility of dreams at this time. Although this view may seem cynical, it was merely realistic to Steinbeck and to many others at the time who felt there was no hope in the world and that dreams could keep them going but that they were not possible. This was a time when for many it was difficult enough to survive. Dreams were simply something to get you through the day - they were very rarely achieved. 1 Page 31-32 2 page 32 3 page 88 4 page 86 5 page 87 6 This dependence is shown on page 103 when Lennie gets very angry with Crooks for suggesting George wouldn't come back. 7 Page 22 8 Page 24 9 page 67 10 page 87 11 page 88 12 page 105 13 'S'pose George don't come back no more.' - page 103 14 page 108 15 page 109 16 page 102 17 page 84 18 page 124 19 page 125 20 page 53 Laura Coles 11R Mr. Aldridge - 1 - ...read more.

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