Steinbeck's American Dream

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Steinbeck’s works mirrored the time period Steinbeck lived in. Many say the series of American crisis that took place during Steinbeck’s lifetime became the backbone to many of his stories. Through years 1929 and 1939, America was in its most “deepest and longest-lasting economic downturn in history.” (“The Great Depression”) Unemployment rates skyrocketed leaving 13-15 million Americans left feeling hopeless. Millions who were left unemployed tried to find work elsewhere but were unsuccessful because of the many businesses that were forced to shut down. Through 1930 and 1936, severe dust storms plagued 60 percent of America’s Midwest causing great damage to U.S. agriculture. The lack of rain, light topsoil, and high winds made for…show more content…
The characters in Of Mice and Men reflect the society in which Steinbeck lived in. Main characters, George and Lennie, are migrant farmers who were forced to travel the lands of Salinas Valley, California (where Steinbeck was born and raised) searching for work sometime during the 1930’s (the Great Depression era). The two traveling companions worked hard to soon fulfill their dreams "An ' live off the fatta the lan '," (Steinbeck 14) Their pursuit to finding the American Dream swiftly comes to an end when George finally realizes the impossibilities of it. The dream of fulfilling their own desires of freedom, contentment, and safety simply don’t exist for the ‘common folk’. “Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place. They come to a ranch an’ work up a stake and then they go inta town and blow their stake, and the first thing you know they’re poundin’ their tail on some other ranch. They aint got nothing to look ahead to.” (Steinbeck 13-14) Similarly, Curley’s wife dreams of becoming a movie star. "I tell you I ain 't used to livin ' like this. I coulda made somethin ' of myself." (Steinbeck 88) For so long, she had desired to make her own path and become something much more than a rancher’s wife. “Coulda been in the movies, an’ had nice clothes—all them nice clothes like they wear.” (Steinbeck 89) However, just like George, she finally fathoms the elusiveness of her dream and decides to settle and marry Curley. The few mentioned characters in the novella Of Mice and Men, all wish to fulfill their own desires and pursue the hopeless American Dream only to realize that it simply cannot be

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