Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Dreams are the significant theme in Steinbeck’s Essay

The term â€Å"American Dream† became popular in the 17th century when the first settlers arrived in America. Their dreams were to make their fortune in the gold fields in the land of opportunity. However for many of them the dream became a nightmare. â€Å"Of Mice and Men†, written by John Steinbeck is set in 1930 in California, when the American people were suffering from a great recession. During those times which are known as â€Å"Great Depression†, the price of farm crops fall calamitously because of the economic effects of the First World War. Many people felt as if they were being strangled by the disaster of being jobless. The crash in the stock market made things even worse. Many independent farmers lost their farms because they were not able to pay their debts to the banks. Therefore numerous workers swarmed towards the prosperous states of California to escape from the horror of starving, the pinch of indigence and in the hope of better life and work. Many American workers, especially farmers, believed that the only way to success was to buy land in California. In period of such affliction period, Steinbeck wrote his masterpiece â€Å"Of Mice and Men† and presented to world the American dream and the struggle to attain it. Many of the characters in this novel yearn for their own dreams to become reality. George and Lennie, the main characters conjure up images of their own land where they can be their own bosses. They are two of the itinerant workers who travel together from ranch to ranch, desperate for money to attain their dream. This dream belongs mostly to George because Lennie with his child-like mentality can only keep in his mind one aspect of the dream. He just plays the role of â€Å"tendin’ the rabbits† in their dream land. Lennie is absolutely obsessed by petting rabbits and he always begs George to restate the frequently repeated dream: â€Å"come on, George. Tell me. Please, George. Like you done before.† (Page 15) and every time George repeats their dream; â€Å"†¦ we’re gonna get the jack together and we’re gonna have a little house and couple of acres an’ a cow and some pigs and live fatta the lan†¦Ã¢â‚¬  (Page 16). For George owning land means not having to answer to anyone and being his own boss. He continuously thinks about a time when he will be able to do whatever he desires to, where he can be prosperous for ever and where he may share his life with a wife and make his life colourful. At first their dream seems to be like a glimmer of hope, the glimmer becomes more intense when they meet Candy, another afflicted worker, who lost one of his arms on the ranch. He has got almost enough money to buy a small farm. When George and Lennie share their dream with Candy, the dream seems likely to come true. They tolerate any difficulties to achieve their dream, but unfortunately just when it seems as if it really will come true, disaster strikes Lennie. Curley’s wife invites him to pet her â€Å"soft hair†. Lennie pets her harder and harder. She tries to stop him and accidentally gets killed by Lennie. When Curley’s wife is discovered by Candy and George, their whole dream is shattered. When George meets up with Lennie after the accident, George knows he is not going to achieve his dream. George also knows Curley is desperately looking for Lennie to take revenge with his shotgun. So George decides do his friend a last favour, a painless death. As George gets ready to kill Lennie, he tells Lennie one last time about their dream and lets Lennie to dies with the hope of their dream. When he dies the dream shatters for George too. Candy doesn’t seem to have any dreams at the beginning. He is an old worker on the ranch and he has lost one of his arms in an accident. One night Lennie asks George to express their dream in the bunk house. As George describes the dream they both get excited about their future and they get so wrapped up in the dream that they forget someone else is there. When he learns what George and Lennie’s dream is, he wants to go along and be involved to. He is not satisfied with his life on the ranch and he will be scared to get sacked because he is getting too old, or because he is useless with one hand. His dream is to have security. He is aware that sooner or later they going to get rid of him like they did with his old and useless dog. Also he knows if he loses his job, his chance of getting another job is minute; â€Å"you seen what they done to my dog tonight? They says he wasn’t no good to himself nor nobody else. When they can me here I wisht somebody’d shoot me. But they won’t do nothing like that. I won’t have no place to go, an’ I can’t get no more jobs† (Page 60) Candy thinks he can obtain his dream in George and Lennie’s dream. So he put in his compensation money to get involved in their dream. But his dream is also shattered by Lennie’s death. Isolation and loneliness in the ranch make Crooks await unsatisfied all the time for his dream. He is a black cripple, who tends the horses on the ranch. He has an ardent desire to be equal with others and be treated like a human. The white workers on the ranch treat him like an outcast. They keep aloof from him and claim he stinks. He has been excluded by the residents of the bunkhouse because of his colour. Colour prejudice makes Crooks’ position on the ranch lonely and isolated. He always has to confine himself to his room in the barn and have no one to talk to. During his long hours of solitude, he searches for his rights in his books such as the California Civil code 1905. He remembers his childhood, when he used to play and have a companionship with other children even with whites on his father’s chicken farm; â€Å"My old man had a chicken ranch, ’bout ten acres. the white kids come to play at our place, an’ sometimes I went to play with them, and some of them was pretty nice†¦Ã¢â‚¬  (Page 70) But now he emulates of those times. When Lennie tells Crooks about his and George’s dream land, Crooks places himself in their dream, where no one would humiliate him because of his colour and he would have someone to talk to. So he demands to be part of the dream; â€Å"†¦if you †¦ guys would want a hand to work for nothing-just his keep, why I’d come an’ land a hand. I ain’t so crippled I can work like son-of-a-bitch if I want to.† (Page 76) However his flicker of hope is killed by Lennie’s death. Another dream which masteries someone’s life is the aspiration of being a Hollywood movie star. Dissimilar to the other dreams in this novel, Curley’s wife regrets of having a better life by being a movie star; â€Å"Coulda been in the movie, an’ had nice clothes -all them nice clothes like they wear. An’ I coulda sat in them big hotels, an’ had pitchers took of me†¦Ã¢â‚¬  (Page 87) The dream of being an actress comes from when she met an actor. â€Å"†¦a show come through, an’ I met one of the actors. He says I could go with that show† (Page 87), she says. Because she was fifteen years old her mother didn’t allow her to go with them. The flame of desire to be a movie star became even more fervent when she met another guy; â€Å"Nother time I met a guy, an’ he was in pitchers †¦ He says he was gonna put me in the movies. Says I was natural. Soon’s he got back to Hollywood he was gonna write to me in about it. † (Page 87) However when the letter doesn’t turn up, Curley’s wife finds excuses so she wouldn’t get disappointed; â€Å"I always thought my ol’ lady stole it.† (Page 87) Based upon her excuses she didn’t want to live where she cannot have freedom so to take revenge from her mother, she married with Curley. She thought the marriage will approach her to the dream but it made it even worse. Now Curley doesn’t let her to talk to anyone but himself and all of the ranch workers avoid talking to her because of Curley; â€Å"What’s the matter with me? Ain’t I got a right to talk to nobody? †¦ what kinda harm an I doin’ to you? Seems like they ain’t none of them cares how I gotta live†¦Ã¢â‚¬  (Page 86) Her thoughtless action of marrying with Curley makes loneliness to dominate over her life and makes her to stay at home al l the time. Pain of isolation even makes her to use her sexuality to attract others and have contact with someone else rather than her husband. The part when Lennie and Candy talk about their dreams with Crooks in the barn and Curley’s wife suddenly appears in the door way can be mentioned as an example; â€Å"They swang their heads toward the door. Looking in was Curley’s wife. Her face was heavily made up †¦Ã¢â‚¬  (Page 76) Still no one undergoes the risk to communicate with her. Curley’s wife did die and her death released her from the ache of loneliness but she passed the pain to George. Her death makes George to kill his intimate friend, Lennie. Dreams are the significant theme in Steinbeck’s â€Å"Of Mice and Men†. The novel portrays the American dream as a symbol of aspiration, ambition and hope at the time when was set. Many Americans planted the seed of dream. They accepted the hard toil and labour to fructify it. They lived in yearn for attain it but the seed corrupted for most of them and they failed. In this novel it is the bright future that keeps the characters alive, it is their aspiration that make them to tolerate and it is the hope that gives their life a meaning. However the dreams are never fulfilled in this novel.

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