In Of Mice and Men, what message does Steinbeck convey to the reader about the American Dream, and how does he go about presenting this information through his characters?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Steinbeck conveys the message that the American Dream—which can be defined in the context of this book as people's ability to control their own land and destiny—is not available to the American working person. Steinbeck conveys this message about the inaccessibility of the American Dream through the fate of his main characters, Lennie and George. They dream of owning their own farm where they can raise crops and rabbits and are not subject to the management of cruel farm owners. This dream is not realized, though, because George mistakenly kills a woman, so Lennie must kill him to avoid the authorities further inflicting damage on George. Candy, an elderly farm worker, symbolizes the working man's inability to achieve the American Dream. He becomes entranced by the dream Lennie and George have of owning their own farm, but he also fails to achieve this dream. It is clear that the farmhands in the book will meet tragic ends in which they either die or face lives of unending work with little to show for it.

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Of Mice and Men

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