According to Dictionary. com, the American Dream is defined as “The ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity traditionally held to be available to every American; a life of personal happiness and material comfort as traditionally sought by individuals in the U. S (American Dream). ” But everyone’s idea of the American dream is an altered version of this idea whether it meant being independent or becoming richer. In the book Of Mice and Men, many characters try and pursue the life consisting of the American dream, and in the end, all of their work was in vain.
At one of the ranches that George and Lennie go to, they meet a man named Candy, who is an old ranch handyman, who is starting to think that the boss will soon fire him because of his old age and disabilities. One day, he over hears George and Lennie talking about their ‘American Dream. ’ “S’pose I went in with you guys… I ain’t much good, but I could cook and tend the chickens and hoe the garden some” (Steinbeck, pg 59). Although he knows that he isn’t that useful, he hopes that George and Lennie will accept his offering and let him have a piece of their dream.
After Candy finds out about Lennie killing Curley’s wife, he knows that his dream had just become more impossible. Crooks, the black stableman, is another character that has a dream. “I remember when I was a little kid on my old man’s chicken ranch. Had two brothers. They was always near me, always there. Used to sleep right in the same room, right in the same bed- all three. Had a strawberry patch. Had an alfalfa patch” (Steinbeck, pg 73). He wanted what his old man had: a ranch, family, and independency.
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He also asked George if he could be apart of their ranch… which later we find out that he later told George to forget about it because he knew that in the end, it wouldn’t have worked out. Curley’s Wife is another individual who once had a dream. One day she was talking with Lennie and how she almost fulfilled that dream. “Well, a show come through, an’ I met one of the actors. He says I could go with that show… ‘Nother time I met a guy, an’ he was in pitchers. Went out to the Riverside Dance Palace with him. He says he was gonna put me in the movies. Says I was a natural.
Soon’s he got back to Hollywood he was gonna write to me about it… I never got that letter… I always thought my ol’ lady stole it… so I married Curley. Met him out to the Riverside Dance Palace the same night” (Steinbeck, pg 88). She clearly had a dream consisting of fame and fortune. After that dream was crushed by her mother, she followed up with her back up plan to get hitched. It didn’t work out so great, if you ask me. According to Steinbeck, it was nearly impossible, if not, impossible, to achieve the American dream. Anyone who tried to do so was doing it in vain.
After we see each character describe his/her dream, we see someone/something that gets in the way and prevents that certain dream from turning into a reality. So, according to Steinbeck, pursuing the American Dream is to vain as an infant is to hard labor, each being impossible.
- "American Dream. " Dictionary. com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 01 Mar. 2012. <Dictionary. com http://dictionary. reference. com/browse/american dream>. Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. A Penguin Book Literature, Print.
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