American Dream In Of Mice and Men By John Steinbeck
Of mice and Men, Crooks says: “ They come, an’they quit sn’ go on; an 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. Every’body wants a little piece of lan’. …Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land. It’s just in their head. ” To what extent do you agree with Crooks assessment of “The American Dream”? To a certain extent I agree with Crooks statement. There are many dreams in this novel. Not only for George and Lennie but also for Curly’s Wife, Crooks and Candy.
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. After Lennie shares his plans with Crooks to buy a farm with George and raise rabbits, Crooks tries to belittle Lennie’s hopes. He relates that “hundreds” of men have passed through the ranch, all of them with dreams similar to Lennie’s. Not one of them he emphasizes with bitterness, ever manages to make that dream come true. Crooks exclaim the scene with a sense of reality that the dream of a farm is, after all, only a dream.
This moment establishes Crooks character, showing how a lifetime of loneliness and oppression can manifest as cruelty. As Crook shows, even those who are opposed seek out and attack those who are weaker then they. Crooks statement also, manages to say that all this time, both Lennie and George thought they were alone, but actually, they were never alone. In fact, nobody that’s travelling from one place to another on the road is alone, because every one of them has a dream in their heads, and that many of them will end up like each other, destined to fail.
It’s a brotherhood of desperation and disappointment. Most of the characters in Of Mice and Men admit, at one point or another, to dreaming of a different life. Before her death, Curley’s wife confesses her desire to be a movie star. Crooks, bitter as he is, allows himself the pleasant fantasy of hoeing a patch of garden on Lennie’s farm one day, and Candy latches on desperately to George’s vision of owning a couple of acres. Before the action of the story begins, circumstances have robbed most of the characters of these wishes.
Curley’s wife, for instance, has resigned herself to an unfulfilling marriage. What makes all of these dreams typically American is that the dreamers wish for untarnished happiness, for the freedom to follow their own desires. 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 classical American ideal. “’Well,’ said George, ‘we’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 goin’ to work, and we’ll build up a fire in the stove and set around it an’ listen to the rain comin’ down in the roof…’” Chapter 1, pg. 14-15 It seems like the farm is a dream to George, a hope for Lennie, and (eventually) even a plan for Candy. It’s especially interesting that sometimes it seems the farm is the dream that keeps them going, and sometimes it is just a reminder of the futility of dreaming. This quote highlights their perfect world as 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 carry on their bare backs. Therefore, this idea of having such power over their lives is a strong motivation. When George goes into a full description of their perfect farm, its Eden-like qualities become even more apparent. All the food they want would be right their, 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. “An’ we’d keep a few pigeons to go flyin’ around the win’mill like they done when I was a kid. ” Chapter 3, pg. 58. George has desires for his future to reflect the beauty of his childhood. Many of the characters admit to suffering from profound loneliness. George sets the tone for these confessions early in the novella when he reminds Lennie that the life of a ranch-hand is among the loneliest of lives.
Men like George who migrate from farm to farm rarely have anyone to look to for companionship and protection. As the story develops, Candy, Crooks, and Curley’s wife all confess their deep loneliness. The fact that they admit to complete strangers their fear of being cast off shows their desperation. In a world without friends to confide in, strangers will have to do. Each of these characters searches for a friend, someone to help them measure the world, as Crooks says. In the end, however, companionship of his kind seems unattainable. For George, the ope of such companionship dies with Lennie, and true to his original estimation, he will go through life alone. This novel brings to light that many people throughout their lives (during the 1930’s) want to live the American Dream, work towards something to reach their goal, may it be owning a house or just simply a few acres of land they can call their own. Although, for many it is still yet just another dream. But it’s the hope and strive that keeps people like George and Lennie together working towards their little piece of paradise.