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Of Mice and Men. Explore the Theme of the American Dream and Importance of it to the Characters in the Text

Introduction

The American dream was created by James Truslow Adams in 1931, James Truslow Adams believed that the American dream was of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunities for each according to ability or achievement, the American dream was targeted at poor people who wanted to have a better future, some of the things that might be in the American dream is to have a house with a nice family. In the book’ Of Mice and Men’. The American Dream is everyone has a dream to strive for the better things in life. The poor men and women wish to be their own bosses, and actually have stability in their lives, the poor wanted to have there own homes and have a nice family. But in the 1930’s there weren’t many or even any jobs available for the average everyday people of America.

The American dream was for everyone to have a dream, the dream was created in the 1930’s America, and the great depression was caused by the Wall Street crash, because of the crash many people had lost there jobs and were unemployed, any money that would have been saved in there banks, it wasn’t possible for them to take it out because of the wall street crash, the entire banking system had collapsed and a huge number of banks went bust. There where many people staving and illnesses started to flood through out America. The only jobs that people could get where at ranches so there where many migrant farmers going to farm to farm trying to find a job, it was very competitive for them to get a job because every one wanted to make money so the could fill them self’s in the time of the great depression there was a big drought which caused a lot of farms to dry up. All the useable ranches where you could actually get some crops out of where in California. Many rich people had ranches in California so every one who’s ranches where dried out and couldn’t be used they would go to California, but not every one would have got a place because of the overcrowdings. In the story ‘of mice and men’ the two men are also migrant farmers and are in need of a job at a ranch, this is how the ‘of mice and men’ is linked to the great depression.

George and Lennie.

The relationship between George and Lennie is like a father and son relation ship, in the story lennie is represented like a child because of his disabilities and how he acts. In the story George is always telling off lennie for any thing bad which he does, a quote to represent George telling off lennie is,’ Aw, lennie George put his hand on Lennie’s shoulder “, I aint taking it for meanness.’ This is showing two things one which is that he’s telling off lennie for something bad what he has done and that at the time of telling him off he’s actually being nice and saying he doesn’t do it for meanness, just like a father would do. Lennie treats George like a father by always listening to him, in the story lennie mimics George’s moves, a quote showing this is, ‘Lennie, who had been watching, imitated George exactly. He pushed himself back, drew up his knees, embraced them, and looked over to George to see whether he had it just right’. This shows that George treats Lennie in a father perspective and thinks of him as a role model. George also gets Frustrated over Lennie when he doesn’t listen and does bad stuff a quote showing this is,” But not us! An’ why? Because…because I got you to look after me and you got me to look after you.” This is showing that if he didn’t have to look after Lennie he would have a better life and George could go to a cat house when ever he wanted to and spend all his money unlike now when he has to save it up for the both of them and try and fulfil there dream as best as possible.

Why George keeps Lennie around is because he doesn’t want to be lonely and live his life like all the other migrant farmers which go to cat houses and spend there earned money on useless money, a quote showing this is,” they come to a ranch an’ work up a stake and then go into town and blow their stake, and the next thing you know they’re pounding’ their tail on some other ranch.” The quote is showing that other migrant farmers spend all there earning but George has a reason to earn money, the reason being lennie. George likes to have lennie around a quote showing this is.’ it’s a lot nicer to go around with a guy you know.” The quote was when George was talking to slim and took out his feelings.

George and Lennies dream is to have a house and land and to have many farm animals especially lennie he is really interested in having lots of rabbits to tend and chickens, a quote to show this dream is” All kin’s a vegetables in the garden, and if we want a little whisky we can sell a few eggs or something, or some milk. We’d jus’ live there. We’d belong there. There wouldn’t be no more runnin’ round the country and gettin’ fed by a Jap cook. This quote shows that George and lennie want to be free to have what they want when they want, there is no hustle of doing anything they can grow fresh vegetables on the land run around on the fields enjoying themselves and lennie can tend the rabbits which he would be pleased about. As this would be relevant to the 1930s migrant farmers, George and lennie were alone and didn’t have any one to talk to and were quite lonely, a quote to show this is “but not us! Because…..because I got you to look after me , and you got me to look after you and that’s why” this quote shows that George and lennie were together to look after each other referring to the 1930s many people didn’t travel together and didn’t have the right people to go to if something happened in their lives, referring to the book of mice and men George is always looking after lennie and having to care and see what he is doing where ever he goes, George is a good parent to a lennie he sometimes can get frustrated with lennie but at the same time he doest want to be lonely as he keeps him company. And the interactions he makes towards lennie to make him understand what he is doing.

George and Lennies dream didn’t succeed because Lennie was getting into to much trouble, like the time in weed when he started to feel that girls dress, a quote showing the time when Lennie got in trouble was,” well, he seen this girl in a red dress. Dumb bastard like he is, he wants to touch ever’ thing he likes. Just wants to feel it.” This quote shows George getting into trouble because he of his child like behaviour. Why I thought that the dream wouldn’t be successful In the book because Lennie has a mental disorder, so it was obvious that he would get into trouble and wont let the dream be successful, another thing is that Lennie doesn’t know his own strength, so if he gets angry or is confuse he might do things without knowing the consequences. Some examples of foreshadowing is like when he ripped the girls dress, killed the mice, killed the pup and when curly the ranch owners son didn’t like him which showed that Lennie would get in trouble with Curly.

Candy

Candy is a swamper on the ranch, swamper meaning cleaner. Candy is a old man his physical condition is that he is disabled, a quote showing that he’s got no hand is,” he pointed with his arm right arm, and out of the sleeve came a round stick like wrist, but no hand”. His hand was chopped off by a machine on the ranch that’s why they gave him a easy job of a swamper because he can not pick any thing heavy and they don’t even think that he can do that job properly. Candy wants to contribute to George and Lennies dream this is because he actually thinks that there dream could come true and that he’s getting old now so the people at the ranch people would want to get rid off him.

In the story they show that when you get old your worthless, a quote showing this is,” that dog isn’t no good to himself. I whist somebody’d shoot me if I get old and cripple”, this is showing that now that the dog has gotton old and cannot really do anything they want to kill the dog, they see it as a mercy killing, so now that candy has gone old and disabled they wont shoot him like the dog because its illegal so they might try and fire him and kick him out.

What candy contributes to the dream is $350 this is because he thins that the dream could actually be successful unlike the other migrant farmers who say they can but they cannot, he’s also contributing him self because he says he will do most of the work, a quote showing him saying this is,” I aint’ much good, but I could cook and tend the chickens and hoe the gardens some.” He also says that,” ‘I’d make a will an’ leave my share to you guys in case I kick off, ’cause I ain’t got no relatives nor nothing.” This shows that he’s contributing him self as a partner than after he dies they will get the will so its win, win for both of them.

Candy wants to be part of George and Lennies dream because he knows that sooner or later hell be canned, a quote showing him talking about this is,” they’ll can me purty soon, jus’ as soon as I cant swamp no bunk houses they’ll put me on the county.” This brings back the point before when someone of something is disabled or can’t operate functionally in the environment they get rid of them. Another reason why candy wants to contribute to the dream is because soon when he aint no more there’ll be no reason of all that money that he’s saved up, so he might as well contribute to something before he dies than have the money go to waste.

Steinbeck’s purpose in including candy is to show people’s attitude in the 1930’s towards disabled people. He shows this by comparing the dog to candy; this shows that people treated disabled people as they where worth nothing. The author also shows that if you’re disabled you’ll be lonely and have no one to be with you, especially if you’re some one who hasn’t got so much money.

Crooks.

On the ranch there is much racism towards crooks, through out the story the men on the ranch call him nigger they don’t really use his real name, they don’t let him join in any of there activities except for the hoarse shoe game which is outside, a quote showing them doing this is,” they let the nigger come in the night little skinner name of smitty took after the nigger. Done pretty good to”, they use crooks for there entertainment.

Crooks is considering to join the dream because he hasn’t really got no life here on the ranch no one likes him around because of the colour of his skin the only time he’s aloud with other men on the ranch is when they play hoarse shoe, but if they play something else inside the bunkhouse like solitaire they wont let him in. he feels quite lonely on the ranch but trys to hide it when someone comes to his shed he tells them to go away but really he wants them to stay, a quote showing his loneliness is,” you got George. You know he’s going to come back. Spose you didn’t have nobody. Spose you couldn’t go into the bunk house and play rummy because you were black”. This shows how the other men treat crooks because of his colour and how lonely he gets without anyone to talk to, to express his feelings.

crooks wants to really join the dream so he wont feel segregated from the other men and he will actually be a part of something, a quote showing when he offers to join there dream is,” He hesitated…if you…guys would want a hand to work for nothing just his keep, why I’d come an lend a hand”. This quote shows how desperate he is to join there dream because he’s offering him self to them for free.

Crooks dismiss him self from the dream as a joke because he knew that’s what every happens he will still be seen as a nigger, like the time when he noticed that George wasn’t really pleased that Lennie was talking to him, the quote showing this is,” and he looked disapprovingly about.’ What you doin’ in crooks’ room? You hadn’t ought to be in here.’ This quote showed that George wouldn’t be happy to hear about crooks joining the dream, so he knew he wouldn’t be able to join the dream because there would always be a problem with one white person.

Another reason why crooks backs out of the dream is when he thought he was actually felt a part with lennie and candy but then curlys wife showed him that he couldn’t ever be a part of the white society, the quote showing her putting crooks in his place is,” listen nigger,’ she said. ‘You know what I can do to you if you open your trap?’ crooks stared hopelessly at her, and then he sat down on his bunk and drew into himself’. What she meaning by saying this is that she could get him arrested for numerous things one main thing that she can get him arrested for is rape, this is related to the scoots burg case in 1931, what had happened was that nine young black men were accused of raping two white women on a train. After a series of trials, four of the men were sentenced to long prison sentences – even though prominent lawyers argued that the accusations were false, later it was discovered that the women were lying.

in that time no one would believe a black person everyone would believe the white girls over the black person and wouldn’t believe the black person, and if in jury the black men wouldn’t have any evidence of not doing what they where accused of they would be hanged to death. Another thing is that some white men formed vigilante groups to intimidate and even murder blacks, if some one would accuse a black person about any thing the white men would go after them. Right up till the 1950s it was common for black men to be accused of assaulting white women on the basis of little or no evidence.

Steinbeck’s purpose in including crooks as a character is because he wants to show how black men where treated in that time, in the story it is shown how he is segregated from the other white men, he isn’t aloud to play any inside games with the other men on the ranch, no one really wants to talk to him, he’s showing that how lonely life was if you had a different race.

Curlys wife

Curlys wife’s dream is to be a Hollywood film star, in the story she is seduced by a film star, the quote which shows this is” other time I met a guy, an’ he was in pitchers. Went out to the riverside dance palace with him. He says he was gonna put me in the movies. Says I was a natural. Soon he got back to Hollywood he was gonna write to me about it.’ this quote showed that he was seducing her …. She expresses her dream to lennie, the quote showing her expressing her self is,”coulda been in the movies, an’ had nice clothes, all of the nice clothes like they wear. An’ I coulda sat in them bi hotels, an’ had picture took of me. When they had them previous I coulda went to them an’ spoke in the radio, an’ it wouldn’t cost me a cent. Because I was, in the pictures.’ This quote is showing her dream of being a Hollywood actress whom she couldn’t fulfil; this is because she thought that her mom didn’t want her to go because she didn’t receive any letters from the actor who she met.

Her dream is important to her because she always wanted to be an actress and she was promised to be one. She also wanted her dream to be fulfilled because she wanted to get away from the ranch and be famous and live a Hollywood life like she always wanted to.

Her life on the ranch is miserable because the men’s on the ranch hate her because they think that she is trouble and they don’t like her because she always has eyes on the men at the ranch and that she is trouble for the men if curley’s ever sees her with anyone he just he doesn’t like it and starts a fight and the men at the ranch cannot do anything because his father own the ranch and the men wont have anywhere else to go if curley’s takes there job away from them and they will be thrown out of the ranch.

She acts the way she acts on the ranch to seek attention because no one pays attention to her because they know if they talk to her then they will be in trouble with. She also is lonely and wants some one to talk to and treat her good because Curly doesn’t treat her they way she wants to be treated and he also pays no attention to her so she wants someone to talk to and someone that she can tell anything to like a friend, but the men at the ranch no not to make that mistake because they know that they will be in trouble. I don’t think this is fair for her because she only wants someone to talk to because she has no support from her husband and she also has no one to talk to, but I think that if she flirts les with the men then they will like her more and not feel threatened by her.

I think that the readers thought that she could have become an actress. I also think that her mother hid the letters because she would have been famous and she would have forgotten about her. So her mother decided to get her married to Curley, so that she won’t have to go far away from her and she knew that she will always come home and visit her and then she knew that she would never loose her daughter. I think that the actor was telling the truth that her mother was hiding the letters because she always told her that she didn’t want her to go with him and be an actress because she knew that she was going to loose her.

Steinbeck’s purpose in including Curley’s wife was that he wanted to show the audience how women were treated back then. Women were not treated the same as men they were like little servants to the men and also they didn’t really care about the women they just wanted them to serve them or us them for their own needs. I think that he doesn’t giver her name because he is trying to show that she wasn’t important because she was a woman this also shows that they were sexist back then that they didn’t treat women equally as men, they were seen as not important.

Conclusion

The America dream is very important because it gives people the opportunity to achieve something in there lives such as having their own house and a bit of land also a few animals just like George, Lennie, Candy and also Crooks wanted. George and lennie’s dream is to have a beautiful house and a bit of land and have a few animals.

Crook also joins in the dream because he is always being left out and he is also treated differently to the rest because he is black, but then later on in the novel he back out of the dream.

In the story mice and men Candy dream is to also join in the dream with George and lennie because his dog was too old so they shot his dog and also he is old and he thinks that he is no use to the ranch and wants to be part of their dream he also says that he will do anything but wants to join in with there dream.

Curley’s wife dream is to become an actress in Hollywood and become very famous show girl. Her dream dins n come true because she lives a lonely life with curly and she isn’t treated right with him and people at the ranch think that she is trouble so they decide to stay away from her. He dream didn’t get fulfilled because she is promised that she will be a star but then she hears nothing about that promise.

In the mice and men story there was a lot of racism towards crooks, he was treated differently from the rest of the men and also he was left out in doing things with the other men on the ranch because of his background. There was also less jobs available so there was competition for the jobs and if they lost their jobs then it would be really hard for them to find another job. Steinbeck’s overall view of the America dream is to show life in America in the 1930s.for example how Women were treated unfairly and that were not treated the same as men. America in the 1930s was such a horrible and a cruel world to live in because nobody’s dream ever came true and also there was a lot of racism going on back then.