Dreams - of mice and men and death of a salesman

Topics: Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck, Great Depression Pages: 19 (8544 words) Published: September 14, 2014
Explore the ways that Arthur Miller and John Steinbeck use dreams in Of Mice and Men and Death of a Salesman – Dreams are used throughout Death of a Salesman and Of Mice and Men. Both authors Miller and Steinbeck use dreams but from different perspective, different context and different backgrounds. John Steinbeck, before he became an author worked in a farm as a farm labourer and also worked at a sugar plant and a was a fruit picker in the West of America, in California, where most of his inspiration for his books such as The Pearl, East of Eden and Of Mice and Men took place. It was from the people on the farms that help influence his characters, additionally Steinbeck’s experiences of working at these farms had made him ask the question of ‘Can People achieve their personal dream in life’? Arthur Miller was from a wealthy family until 1929 in the Wall Street crash when his family lost all their fortune. As a consequence of this, his family moved away to Brooklyn. Miller helped his family out by delivering bread to help pay back what his family once had. It was because of this event that Miller wrote his plays, mainly about his past. He uses dreams to illustrate what his family wanted after the Wall Street crash. The American Dream is a dream of a piece of land or property in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. The American Dream is a major part of the lives in Death of a Salesman, and Of Mice and Men characters. Both books use the American Dream but portray the dreams differently. The main dream in Of Mice and Men is of the characters George, Lennie and Candy going out west and finding a piece of land that they can work on and not have to be bossed around. Miller used this dream to express George and Lennie’s further by showing that George actually cares about Lennie and wants to protect him from trouble and therefore buying some land would be a good way of excluding Lennie from the public eye but still making him happy and safe. Lennie’s part of the dream is his addition of stroking soft things like puppies and rabbits and therefore on the land would have a job to stroke and look after the rabbits. Candy’s contribution for this dream is to help pay for a little of the ranch in return for living there as a retirement home when he is older. This makes the dream more achievable but when Lennie kills Curly’s wife, Candy knows who it was, and was devastated and furious as he knows that they have lost their chance of achieving their dream. This style of American Dream is different in Death of a Salesman as it focusses on owning a nice house, have free time, good jobs and lots of money. This is what Willy is trying to achieve and believes that if one works hard enough he will be rewarded. This reality for Willy does not help him by his perfect brother Ben who is a good example of Willy’s idea of the American Dream by owning large sections of land and a diamond mine when he was alive. Miller writes Death of a Salesman in a way that is not about achieving the American Dream but failing to achieve the American Dream. Miller writes and makes Willy think his dream can be achieved through having lots of money. Further on in the book it shows what the American Dream has done to Willy and Linda but also to George and Lennie as it makes Willy become more distant from his wife Linda who was very devoted to him and also George moves further away from Lennie after realising Lennie has no chance of surviving in this world.

Each character has different dreams and these dreams are used for escaping into different, happier and freer lives. In Of Mice and Men the escaping dreams are George, Lennie and Candy’s dream of owning a little patch of land and live on it in freedom. This dream is important to the readers as it shows that the 3 characters really want to achieve their dream and own land, especially when Lennie keeps...
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