It can be argued that Steinbeck does not bring the reality of the disaster into the novella because it ruins the concept of the American Dream. Explain if this is valid.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the statement might not be entirely valid.  I think that one of Steinbeck's primary motivations is to depict a realistic view of the American Dream.  I don't think that Steinbeck is out to ruin the American Dream, but rather bring out how different people's experiences feed into it in different ways.  Through showing the reality that the characters experience and in showing how each of them held different visions of their own dream, Steinbeck is showing how powerfully persuasive such a vision is.  The work seems to be stressing that anyone can dream and I don't see it as "ruining" the dream, as much as exploring it in a profound and wide- ranging manner.  I think that the other element of the statement that might have to be examined in more stringent detail is the notion of "reality of the disaster."  More specificity is needed here, but if the idea is that Steinbeck does not fully detail the economic disaster gripping the nation at the time, there might have to be some qualification here.  I think that Steinbeck does detail the full extent of how the Depression impacted some of the most basic needs of human beings, such as the need to work, the need to be a part of a functioning community, and a need to define one's being in a sense of happiness and contentment.  This is something that is detailed with the small details such as the interactions of the farm hands, the internal musings of the characters, or even the dialogue that they share with one another.  I think that this is something that he brings out in full detail, bringing out "the reality of the disaster."  If "the disaster" is referring to Lennie's death, I think that the emotional detailing of weight and pain that George feels is something that is conveyed.  Again, this demonstrates not the ruining of the American Dream, but rather an expanding of it.

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