Role Of The American Dream In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

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For exactly 240 years, America has been dependent upon a single concept that formulates its very foundation: The American Dream. Throughout generations of history, the validity of the American Dream constantly fluctuates, and every single fluctuation drastically affects American citizens, an effect that is crucial to the success of the United States. Without such a foundation, the qualities of America are eventually undermined and the American Dream dissipates for millions of hard workers attempting to earn the right of egalitarianism, such as George and Lennie during the Great Depression. In John Steinbeck's novel "Of Mice and Men", the American Dream is effectively portrayed through dynamic characterization, character relationships, and symbolism.…show more content…
For instance, the treatment given to Crooks by the men on the ranch demonstrates the elusiveness of the American Dream for select groups of people. Through relaying his story to Lennie, Crooks reveals the pain he experiences: "S'pose you couldn't go into the bunkhouse and play rummy 'cause you was black" (Steinbeck 72). This passage fully illustrates the injustice placed upon Crooks, a person of color, who faces racial discrimination, thus prohibiting his rights. Additionally, another character relationship that helps depict the American Dream is between Curley's wife and Crooks. Curley's wife projects supremacy over Crooks, "I could get you strung up on a tree so fast it ain't even funny" (Steinbeck 81). This passage poses a paradoxical relationship within the plot; Crooks and Curley's wife are both victims of social injustice, and both face restrictions upon their rights, but receive vastly different treatments based on their backgrounds. Finally, the relationship between Curley's wife and men on the ranch helps to extensively describe the factors within the American Dream. George outlines how he views Curley's wife when he admonishes Lennie for his behavior around her, stressing that he “ain't never seen no piece of jail bait worse than her" (Steinbeck 32). Instances of misogyny are repeated in interactions between Curley's wife and the men on the ranch,…show more content…
One major symbolic aspect within "Of Mice and Men" is George and Lennie's dream farm. Lennie repeatedly pesters George about their American Dream: “How long’s it gonna be till we get the little place an’ live off the fatta the lan’ –an tend the rabbits?” (Steinbeck 56). The dream farm is an idyllic location that is not an actual location, but rather a goal that George and Lennie both yearn for, accordingly showcasing how migrant workers imagine their American Dream, while not experiencing a solidified vision. Additionally, certain characters, such as Lennie's puppy, are also strong examples of symbolism. While examining the dead puppy, Lennie miserably states, "Now maybe George ain't gonna let me tend no rabbits, if he fin's out you got killed." (Steinbeck 85). The innocent puppy's death can be viewed as foreshadowing towards excessive violence and can also be interpreted as a claim that the American Dream has overwhelming forces embedded against migrant workers, just as Lennie's puppy was at a disadvantage against Lennie's brutal strength. Finally, Steinbeck profoundly shares aspects of the American Dream through the death of Curley's wife. "Before George answered, Candy dropped his head and looked down at the hay. He knew." (Steinbeck 94). Candy recognizing the death of his dream without dialogue cues from George illustrates a powerful message that the death of Curley's wife
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