Top-Rated Free Essay

Of Mice and Men- the American Dream

Good Essays
The term American dream may not be used too often any more, but especially in the 1930’s it was a very motivating term for the working class. Whether their dream was to own their own company, support their family or even just own a piece of land to call their own, the thought of having a dream that they could fulfil if only they worked hard enough was keeping them moving forward. George and Lennie’s dream was the latter, they longed to own a piece of land, to have animals, and live so no one would have control over them. But throughout the course of the novel, some of their choices adjust the final outcome of their dream. By the end of Of Mice and Men Lennie and George’s dream has been altered in many ways.
Although Lennie was killed in the end of the novel, a version of his dream still came true. The basis of Lennie’s dream was that he would be safe from harm and people running after him and that he would be stopped from hurting anyone accidentally. By killing Lennie, George gave him what it was he wanted, even if he didn’t realize it at the time. “Ever’body gonna be nice to you. Ain’t gonna be no more trouble. Nobody gonna hurt nobody or steal from ‘em” (Steinbeck 106). Without Lennie living, he would no longer be wanted by the people from Weed for accused rape. He would also be spared from Curley and his revengeful killing, because of the accidental killing of Curley’s wife. George knew what he had to do but he didn’t want Lennie to feel any pain in the process. “Shoot him right in the back of the head…he wouldn’t feel nothing” (Steinbeck 45). The way Carlson shot Candy’s old dog was the same way that George shot Lennie. “Right in the back of the head he said

softly” (Steinbeck 107). The method he used to end Lennie’s life was much more merciful and humane than Curley’s plan. George also wanted Lennie to be at peace, thinking about their dream, their ranch, before he died. Killing Lennie was George’s only option. If Curley had gotten to him he would have had a painful death and even in the possibility of Lennie’s escape, he would eventually be tracked down and killed or sent to an asylum because of his mental disabilities. Because of George’s death and the circumstances they put themselves in, Lennie did not get to see the day that they owned a ranch, but he did ultimately get his dream.
We never find out for sure if George fulfills his dream and gets a ranch, but even thought Lennie died, he still has an opportunity to achieve this dream. Lennie is now not driving George out of his jobs and on the run. “You can’t keep a job and you lose me ever’ job I get. Jus’ keep me shovin’ all over the country all the time” (Steinbeck 11). Since George could keep a job without Lennie, he would be able to get the full stake of pay each month for his ranch and raise the money quicker. He also still has the support of Candy. “S’pose I went in with you guys. Tha’s three hundred fifty bucks I’d put in. I ain’t much good, but I could cook and tend the chickens” (Steinbeck 59). Not only could George keep a job but he could also have a much more leisurely life. “I could get along so easy and so nice if I didn’t have you on my tail. I could live so easy and maybe have a girl” (Steinbeck 7). Without having to care for Lennie, George would be able to relax and live a more normal life as a worker. Because of Lennie’s death George may even be able to get the ranch faster and by doing so still achieve a version of the American dream.

The American dream is a motivation for many characters in Of Mice and Men but through a series of events, not all their dreams remain the same by the end of the novel.
George and Lennie’s dream was their ambition, their reason to keep persevering. They always had it as their ideal, their goal to strive for. If they could just own a ranch they would be happy. But throughout the novel, Lennie is killed and his dream is fulfilled by not having life at all. George’s dream is now altered because Lennie would not be a part of it. Even Crooks had a dream, to go in on the ranch with George, Lennie and Candy, but because of his race, he had to realize that his dream could not be that lofty and his dream was forgotten. All during the novel, the message that is portrayed is that the American dream that is fulfilled is not the same as the dream they originally began with.

Throughout the duration of Of Mice and Men, many versions of the American dream demonstrated motivational objectives for the characters. Lennie longed for peace and safety. George wished to have a leisurely life and Crooks hoped for a world where he was not discriminated against. Throughout the novel, these dreams were changed and sometimes even forgotten. Because of this, Steinbeck gives the impression that the American dream can never truly be fulfilled to the dreamer’s original standards.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    The American Dream-Of Mice and Men- Most of the characters in Of mice and Men, at one point or another, admit to dreaming of a different, more successful life. Before her accidental death, Curly’s wife, the symbol of temptation in the novel, has dreams of her own. She wanted badly to become an actress of work in show business.Crooks, bitter as he is, allows himself the pleasant fantasy of hoeing a patch of garden on Lennie’s Farm one day. Candy latches on desperately to George’s vision of owning…

    • 373 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Hopes and dreams are important in ‘Of Mice and Men.’ Not is it important to the characters of the story itself, it is the theme of the novel. In this essay I will talk about the hopes and dreams of the main ensemble and also about the context of the novel, the American Dream and the Great Depression on the 1930’s. I will also talk about the poem Steinbeck based the book’s title off and how important it is to the book’s overall theme. The dream of attaining land and – ultimately – happiness is…

    • 851 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Of Mice and Men When Of Mice and Men was published in 1937, the United States was in the grip of Great Depression. John Steinbeck, the author, saw firsthand the economic and social problems of the Great Depression in California. This provided material for three of his novels about agricultural workers. By the time he wrote Of Mice and Men, the industrial revolution was providing machines to replace ranch hands and there way of life was fast disappearing. Poverty and depression seem to hang over…

    • 732 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    The American Dream in Of Mice and Men Of Mice and Men takes place in the 1930's of America during the Great Depression where the american dream was rarely reached and the land of fortune had become the land of misfortune. It was during this time that many farmers best hope for a new life lied in California.This vision has been extremely manipulated in the 20th century to fit the new standerads of Americans, which are greedy and selfish. The main characters opinions in the book Of Mice and…

    • 1079 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Better Essays

    What is the American Dream? According to James Truslow 's book, The Epic of America (ironically written in the 1930s), the American Dream is “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.” (Truslow). In the 20th century, we have significantly warped that dream to suit a more selfish type of person. Citizens base the American Dream on something much more different then what it originally meant…

    • 1678 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    The American Dream What is the definition of the American Dream? There are many different answers to this question, but the most common answer is “the ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity traditionally held to be available to every American” (Dictionary). The American Dream has changed dramatically, now its’ meaning has been interpreted differently. For many people, it has brought them to America in search for a better life. Unfortunately, the dream has not been as promising for everyone…

    • 1315 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    traditionally have been available to most Americans. However, in the novel, Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck illustrates some examples of Americans who are not able to achieve the “American Dream”. Such as Lennie and George and Candy. A life situation with Americans who cannot achieve their American dream are severed disabled people. The “American Dream” is one many people have; however, reality sometimes prevents it from happening. Lennie and George had the “American Dream” of owning a farm and sharing the…

    • 558 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    This is a Story All About Dreams The American Dream is a large theme on which the novella "Of Mice and Men" is based on. Each character strives to achieve their own dream, and some without realising. Dreams are very important in the novella, because without them nobody has anything to work towards and to motivate them in life. Lennie's dream is probably brought up most throughout the novella, out of all the dreams. Lennie's dream is to get 'the fatta the lan" with a small place and rabbits. Lennie…

    • 768 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Eleni Velalis Dr. Abala ENG 111-07 February 9, 2017 The Dead American Dream The American Dream is the set belief that one can achieve success on any level through hard work and sacrifice. Every person wishes to attain the American Dream, but not everybody is willing to put forth the effort and hard work. In the novella, Of Mice and Men, written by John Steinbeck, the story takes place during the Great Depression. The novella begins alongside the Salinas River near Soledad, California. George…

    • 1825 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Stienbeck’s novel “Of Mice and Men” is about the death of the American dream. George, Lennie and Candy’s dream is to own their own piece of land to work and live independently on. This dream is destroyed by Lennie’s ignorance and Lennie’s strength, which he cannot control. Curley’s wife’s dream is to be a famous Hollywood actress. Her dream is destroyed by her marriage to Curley and the Hollywood director who promised to contact her about her acting career but never has. Crook’s dream is for equality.…

    • 898 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays