Of Mice and Men
The American dream is a concept that played a big role in the declaration of independence. Our founding fathers wrote, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." What isn't noted in this “american dream” concept is how race and physical ability can keep the american dream, just a dream.
The novella Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is a fiction story about two farmers Lennie and George. George is the caregiver of Lennie who suffers from a mental disability. They persist through their everyday lives by holding onto their dreams. In Fact, the characters in Of Mice and Men all dream of lives full of liberty and happiness, but none of them ever achieve it. Through Imagery, Characterization, and Symbolism, the author sets the theme of why the American Dream is not possible for most to achieve
Steinbeck uses Imagery to tell the stories of George and Lennie's dream farm. The farm is to show the American dream is something that is never going to happen but you keep looking forward to in your mind. In the book the farm is so vivid to George that he tells Lennie they’ll “...have a big vegetable patch and a rabbit hutch and chickens. And when it rains in the winter, we'll just say the hell with going' to work, and we'll build up a fire in the stove and set around it an' listen to the rain comin' down on the roof." This shows how much detail and thought Lennie and George put into their dream farm. The book says, “the sun threw a bright dust laden bar… and in and out of the beam flies shot like rushing stars” (Steinbeck 18).These shooting stars end up being flies and represent George and Lennie's unachievable american dream. The foreshadowing of the false stars shows that Lennies and George's dreams are not in the reach. The point of this paragraph is to show that the dream of the farm represents the impossibility of the american dream
The author uses characterization by developing Crooks character to deny the american dream exist for anyone this can be seen when Crooks states, "Nobody ever gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land." The american dream is even more impossible if your hindered by unchangeable factors such as race and ability which applies to the characters Crooks, Candy, and Lennie. One quote that supports this is when Crooks says,“I seen hundreds of men come by on the road an' on the ranches, with their bindles on their back and' that same damn thing in their heads . . . every damn one of 'em's got a little piece of land in his head. An' never a God damn one of 'em ever gets it. Just like heaven. Ever'body wants a little piece of lan'. I read plenty of books out here. Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land.” Crooks has been through so much that all bits of success and happiness is viewed as unachievable to him. Another quote that backs up this claim is when “...Lennie forgets the farm is a secret and mentions it. Crooks thinks this just one of Lennie's fantasies.” Crooks has had so many disappointments in his life that lennie's possibly achievable American Dream is more like a far fetched fantasy to Crooks. This paragraph proves unchangeable setbacks such as race and ability makes some unable to achieve the american dream
Finally, the author utilizes symbolism in the final scene when George has to shoot lennie. The metaphor of george killing lennie represents the “killing” of their american dream. This claim can be seen when George says,“I think I knowed from the very first. I think I knowed we'd never do her. He usta like to hear about it so much I got to thinking maybe we would.” This quote shows that George knew that his dream would probably stay just a dream. Another example of symbolism is the sunsetting after George kills Lennie representing the complete end to their american dream. This can be seen when the book shares that George finds Lennie hiding in the brush where they story first started, “Already the sun had left the valley to go climbing up the slopes…” (Steinbeck 99). All hope and light have vanished, and George knows his dream is gone. The mountains represent the American Dream, the sunrise and sunset shows the breakdown of hope in the ambition of the American Dream. This paragraph shows that the symbolism for the sun and George killing Lennie represents the end to their American Dream.
Of Mice and Men highlights why the american dream is not in reach of most. Steinbeck paints a picture so we can vividly see why the american dream is not attainable, shows how race and ability can affect success by developing his characters to all come from different backgrounds and views, and uses the sunset as a symbol to represent the unfortunate ending of the story. Steinbeck leaves us to wonder how George and Lennie's life would have changed had they achieved their American dream. In this essay I have talked about steinbeck using imagery, characters, and symbolism to show why the american dream is unattainable.