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Of Mice and Men - American Dream
Transcript of Of Mice and Men - American Dream
"The American Dream"
In the Context...
Their perfect world is one of independence. Workers like Lennie and George have no family, no home, and very little control over their lives. They have to do what the boss tells them and they have little to show for it. They only own what they can carry. Therefore, this idea of having such power over their lives is a strong motivation.
The ideal world presented by Crooks also reflects childhood. His father had a chicken ranch full of white chickens, a berry patch, and alfalfa. He and his brothers would sit and watch the chickens.
Companionship and plentiful food are both parts of Crooks' dream.
The Futility of the Dream
George and Lennie’s dream of owning a farm, which would enable them to sustain themselves, and, most important, offer them protection from an inhospitable world, represents a prototypically American ideal.
Their journey, which awakens George to the impossibility of this dream, sadly proves that the bitter Crooks is right: such paradises of freedom, contentment, and safety are not to be found in this* world.
The American Dream
Everyone has a dream to strive for. The poor ranch hands wish to be their own bosses, and actually have stability in their lives.
What is the American Dream?
The term was first used by James Truslow Adams in his book The Epic of America which was written in 1931. He states:
"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. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to achieve the fullest stature of which they are capable of, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the circumstances of birth or position."
Examples from SIII
When George goes into a full description of the dream farm, its Eden-like qualities become even more apparent. All the food they want will be right there, with minimal effort. As Lennie says:
"We could live offa the fatta the lan'." Chapter 3, pg. 57.
When George talks about their farm, he twice describes it in terms of things he loved in childhood: "I could build a smoke house like the one gran'pa had..." Chapter 3, pg. 57.
George yearns for his future to reflect the beauty of his childhood. "An' we'd keep a few pigeons to go flyin' around the win'mill like they done when I was a kid."
Curley's wife has a dream that although different in detail from the other's dreams, is still very similar in its general desires.
She wants companionship so much that she will try to talk to people who don't want to talk to her, like all the men on the ranch.
Unsatisfied by her surly husband, she constantly lurks around the barn, trying to engage the workers in conversation.
Curley's Wife Cont.
The second part of her dream parallels the men's desire for their own land. She wanted to be an actress in Hollywood. She imagines how great it would be to stay in nice hotels, own lots of beautiful clothes, and have people want to take her photograph.
Both attention and financial security would have been hers. Like the men she desires friendship, and also material comforts, though the specifics of her dream differ from theirs.