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How Does Steinbeck Present The American Dream In Of Mice And Men

Powerful Essays
Since 1931 when James Truslow Adams first created the phrase “the American Dream”, people believed that America continuously offered everyone an equal opportunity to be successful. John Steinbeck’s novella, Of Mice and Men, was set during the Great Depression. Farms were struck hard during the Depression, and the two main characters George and Lennie were farm hands during this time. They had experienced the misunderstandings of other farm hands in terms of Lennie’s mental disability, but they were trying to earn enough money to buy their own farm. The idea of this farm drove Lennie and George to keep working, and like many others during this time they hoped to achieve this dream. Through using the farm to represent the American Dream, Steinbeck brings forward issues from difficulties the mentally ill have to prejudices against African Americans.
Lennie’s illness did not take away from his quality of work, but other men’s attitudes towards him made keeping a job more difficult, hindering his American Dream. Lennie and George’s previous job had been at Weed until Lennie had gotten into trouble.
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The misunderstanding and mistreatment the outcast characters, Lennie, Candy, and Crooks, have to endure in order to have the possibility of partaking in buying the farm, far exceeds that of all the other workers. Yet, the chance of achieving the American Dream, or in the case of Of Mice and Men, a plot of land and small farm, was a much more likely possibility for the men who fell into the norms of society. The depiction of the American Dream creates the idea that everyone stands an equal chance at being successful, but with societal roadblocks for people with mental disorders, crippling injuries, or who belong to a racial minority, there are minimal opportunities for these groups to achieve the American
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