American Dream: Happy Long Lasting Lifestyle

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John Farissey6/9/11
Final Essay Assignment

We have seen many variations of the similar theme the American Dream in novels and plays read this year. The American Dream can be defined as working hard to earn a living, support a family, and to achieve a desired wealthy and long lasting happy lifestyle. Based off of the literature we’ve read this year, the American Dream isn’t actually achievable.

In the novella “Of Mice and Men”, the main characters, George and Lennie, pursue the American Dream. After getting jobs working on a ranch, Lennie and George plan to earn enough money together to buy their own house with farm animals to take care of, and ideally live happily ever after together. This is a good example of the American Dream. The only problem is Lennie is mentally retarded, which is the inevitable downfall of the characters’ dream‘. In the setting of the novella, Lennie’s handicap is a major disadvantage; it symbolizes how harsh and merciless society can be and how difficult it makes achieving the American Dream. In the end, Lennie’s disability leads to his death, and George is unable to achieve the dream without his friend.

In the novel “The Grapes of Wrath”, Tom Joad and his family are forced out of their home due to a drought, and plan on migrating west to California. There, they hope to get jobs, settle down in a nice house, and achieve the American Dream. Unfortunately, there are many migrants like themselves doing the same thing, and the rich job owners hate them. The rich people of the west treat the migrants so poorly, they don’t stand a chance at success. It’s near impossible to get jobs, food is scarce, and conditions are so bad it will be an adventure for the Joad’s just to survive, despite the family‘s greatest efforts. This shows that sometimes no matter how hard one works or how much determination one has, a good happy life, or the “Dream” cannot always be earned. The American Dream withers away during the Joad’s’ journey with...
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