The Role Of Hope In John Steinbeck And Emily Dickinson's Of Mice And Men

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Although hardships in life are inevitable, hope for a better day is a power that “never stops at all” (Dickinson). Authors such as John Steinbeck and Emily Dickinson have incorporated hope within their literary work as a way to provide optimism. Both authors experienced difficulties during their lifetime that led them to understand the true value of hope. Steinbeck, a California native, lived through the economic affliction that plagued the nation during the Great Depression and was witness to its lasting effect on the working class, while Dickinson lived much of her life in isolation with only limited correspondence to others. Dickinson’s famous poem No. 254 captures the role of hope in one’s survival and its function is evident in Steinbeck’s classic novel Of Mice and Men, as hope encourages the characters to dream beyond their struggles and believe that a better life is possible.
In Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck reflects on the importance of hope during the aftermath of the Great Depression of the twentieth century. His characters, George and Lennie, face the widespread unemployment that affected millions of Americans. Jobs were scarce, and Lennie’s mental disability made finding work even harder, “‘An’ what I got,’ George went on furiously. ‘I got you! You can’t keep a job and you lose me ever’ job I get. Jus’ keep me shovin’ all around over the country all the time. An’ that ain’t the worst. You get in trouble.’” (Steinbeck 11). Not only were opportunities severely
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