Essay help: What is the significance of the American Dream in Of Mice and Men?I am having problems with what I can write about in my essay on the significance of the American dream in Of Mice and...

Essay help: What is the significance of the American Dream in Of Mice and Men?

I am having problems with what I can write about in my essay on the significance of the American dream in Of Mice and Men. I plan to include the dream as the main source of motivation for Lennie and George (how the dream was mostly Lennie's, how George gave up the dream when Lennie died, and maybe soemthing else?), and how Crooks will never fulfill the American dream because of his status, but I'm not sure what else to write about and I wanted to know what others thought. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

Asked on by lillupon

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In writing any essay, a unifying idea must be expressed in the thesis. Perhaps, to find this on the topic of the American Dream, you may wish to refer to characters' remarks, such as Candy's despairing remarks after he stands over the body of Curley's wife:

He looked helplessly back at Curley's wife and gradually his sorrow and his anger grew into words...." You done it, didn't you?  I s'pose you're glad. Every'body knowed you'd mess things up.  You wasn't no good. You ain't no good now, you lousy tart."...Old Candy lay down in the hay and covered his eyes with his arm.

Candy's act of lying down and covering his his eyes is exactly as he has done when his dog was shot. This act expresses his despair.  Without the dream of a ranch with George and Lennie, Candy has no hope; likewise, Crooks, who becomes eager to join in the plan for a ranch with Lennie and the others, is, instead, marginalized by Curley's wife; consequently, he, too, becomes desolate and without hope again since Curley's wife has threatened him, "You know what I can do to you if you open your trap?"

Crooks stared hopelessly at her, and then he sat down on his bunk and drew into himself....Crooks seemed to grow smaller...

Thus, it becomes apparent that the "dream" of George and Lennie instills hope in the men, motivating them to work towards a goal of something positive in their lives. This, then, is the unifying idea around which a thesis can be written.  With the idea of owning a farm, their American Dream, the itinerant workers of Steinbeck's novella seek meaning in their lives in the hope of attaining fraternity, happiness, and security if they join together in the ownership of a farm. In a criticism from Enotes, it is written,

The major figures in Steinbeck’s story are all driven by a compelling faith in the possibility of dreams coming true.

The body of the essay will explain how each man feels he will achieve these goals and how he is driven by his faith in the dream. (See the links below for relevant ideas.)

Sources:

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