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Kate McGowan, Steinbeck Essay
America has come to represent ideals such as wealth, happiness, and freedom. Immigrants travel to America in search of the American Dream, constructed of these hopes, although the majority of foreigners and natives alike never discover it. Various American novelists comprehend this unachievable desire and explore its depths in books that have now become classics. Among these novels are John Steinbeck's _Of Mice and Men_ and the same author's _The Grapes of Wrath._ In the first, two men with the names Lennie and George roam California in the 1930's, hunting for ranches to work on. However, Lennie is mentally ill and always provokes trouble, driving the two companions to become fugitives until the next rural occupation. The American Dream motivates the two men; their version being a homestead with crops and rabbits, until George reluctantly shoots and kills Lennie. In the latter novel, the Joad family is forced off their land and into California in pursuit of work and ultimately their vision of settling down in a white house with oranges. The family works efficiently and arduously, but remains in the miserable, poverty-stricken state in which they began. In his novels _Of Mice and Men_ and _The Grapes of Wrath_, John Steinbeck exposes the American Dream as unattainable through his settings, symbolization, and characters.
Steinbeck uses his settings to illuminate the unrealistic concept of the American Dream. Both novels occur in California in the 1930's. More specifically, in _Of Mice and Men_, the story unfolds on a ranch, where every worker desires the American Dream, but none acquire it. For instance, Curley's wife, who aspires to be a movie star, is murdered and Candy, who wishes to own a farm with Lennie and George, is condemned to remain at the ranch. The ranch is an accommodation for men, who have abandoned their dreams, to drudge through the week and
then spend their pay on temporary pleasure. As...
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