Of Mice and Men: The Death of the American Dream

1178 Words Mar 23rd, 2014 5 Pages
Mrs. Corak

Pre-AP English 10

The Death of the American Dream The American Dream has always been one of the most prominent ideals in American society. Of Mice and Men was written by Steinbeck in 1937. It focuses on the lives of two men, Lennie and George, as they try to fulfill their own American Dream of owning a small farm. While this seems like an attainable dream in the beginning, Steinbeck chooses instead to destroy this dream utterly with the death of Lennie. Curley’s wife had an American Dream of being an actress, but she was condemned to a life on a farm with a man she doesn’t love. By destroying the American Dreams of Lennie, George, and Curley’s Wife in Of Mice and Men, prove Steinbeck believes that the American
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I don’t know why, maybe everybody in the whole damn world’s just scared of each other” (34). In this passage Steinbeck uses Slim to comment on how two guys traveling together is strange. The reason he gives is that people in the world are scared of each other. This can be related back to the American Dream. For a dream to succeed, you need help. The reason no one’s American Dreams are succeeding is because they don’t receive help from each other. Curley’s Wife never got help to fulfill her dream, so it never succeeded. Steinbeck echoes this sentiment in a part of his Nobel Prize speech, “Humanity has been passing through a gray and desolate time of confusion” (“Banquet Speech”). From this quote, Steinbeck is saying that he believes that we are passing through a time without the ability to fulfill dreams. Gray and desolate implies that there are no dreams that exist. Another time a minor character shows Steinbeck’s beliefs about the American Dream is when Crooks and Lennie talk about the farm where Lennie wants to live on with George. Crooks says, “you’re nuts. I’ve seen hundreds of men come by on the roads an’ on the ranches with their bindles on their backs an’ the same damn thing in their heads” (72). In that line, Steinbeck basically condenses all of his beliefs into one phrase. He states that the American Dream is just a dream, and that those who believe otherwise are deluding themselves. The American Dream began as a simple belief
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