Of Mice and Men, American Beauty Essay examples

1159 Words Jul 10th, 2012 5 Pages
Through the comparative study of “Of Mice and Men” written by John Steinbeck in 1937 and “American Beauty” directed by Sam Mendes in 1999, it is apparent that the concept of the American Dream is timeless and enduring. Mendes and Steinbeck use language techniques such as dramatic foreshadowing and filmic techniques to define the American Dream’s spiritual and materialistic aspects. However, from the context of the Great Depression explored in “Of Mice and Men” to the economic boom of 1999 which provides the backdrop to “American Beauty”, society has greatly evolved. Hence, as the context changes, so does our understanding of the American Dream and its perceived values.

“Of Mice and Men” is set during the Great Depression when people
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In “Of Mice and Men”, the American Dream was literally a miracle during a time where money and work was scarce. With “I hardly never seen two guys travel together… Never seem to give a damn about nobody.”, Slim sums up the nature of the people at the time, they were lone wolves and the dream was an impossible task to accomplish alone. Even so, the bond between Lennie and George gives the audience hope through the use of encouraging descriptions such as “We got a future. We’ll have a big vegetable patch and a rabbit-hutch and chickens.” However, this all comes falling down when they meet Curley’s wife. She recounted her dream of “Coulda been in the movies, an’ had nice clothes…coulda sat in them big hotels, an’ had pitchers took of me.” Repetition of the word “coulda” gave the reader a sense of what could’ve been if her dreams came true but instead her marriage has become lifeless. Curley’s wife showed that the American Dream apart from its beauty and hopes, was too fragile for reality during the Great Depression.

Similarly, the fragility of the American Dream is also shown by the death of the pursuer in “American Beauty”. Lester Burnham has already acquired Lennie and George’s dream, yet he is arguably even further from happiness than they were, because Lennie and George were drawn together by