Of Mice and Men

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Ambitions of Another Life
In today’s world, we have come to see that trial, error, pain, and the striving for living a glamorous life are common; we all know it’s an exhausting task. Everybody seems to “go through the motions” at one point or another; we all seem to have this point in life where everything seems like a black hole that’s going nowhere. In the book, Of Mice and Men, and play Death of a Salesman, we see this is common, among many other similarities. However, no story is ever the same between two people’s lives, and this is also shown in these two works of literature. In these two pieces, it is apparent that one of the main motifs is struggle. Steinbeck and Miller both intricately weave in the worries, desires, and hurt of trying to get the ultimate American Dream. George from Of Mice and Men and Willy from Death of a Salesman tend to share common ground; they both are striving to make sure their family (or what comes closest) is doing well. George does what he can to protect himself and Lennie, while Willy does what he can to protect his family. Steinbeck portrays George’s will to protect Lennie towards the end of the book, “‘Lennie, look down across the river, like you can almost see the place.’...George looked down at the gun. There were footsteps crashing in the brush now. George raised the gun and steadied it, and brought the muzzle of it close to the back of Lennie’s head” (106). George didn’t want to have to pull the trigger on his closest friend and confidant, but he had to in order to save him from being hurt further. Willy did something like this, only he took his own life instead. He feels the only way out of his and his family’s debt and misery is to kill himself to get life insurance money for his family: WILLY. Remember, it’s a guaranteed twenty-thousand-dollar proposition. BEN. What’s the proposition?

WILLY. It’s twenty thousand dollars on the barrelhead.
BEN. ...Twenty thousand-- that is something one can feel with the hand, it is...
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