I believe Steinbeck wanted the reader to understand that America in the 1930s was a harsh, difficult place to survive and that the "American Dream" was essentially impossible to achieve. Throughout the novella, each character struggles to survive in the lonely, unpredictable environment and dreams of a better life. George and Lennie's dream of one day owning their own home together on a plot of land is shattered after Lennie accidentally kills Curley's wife. Steinbeck illustrates each character's struggles by depicting their rough lives on the ranch. In the dire economic times, it was difficult for men to make a steady living and save enough money to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Like many Americans living during that time period, George's dream is impossible to achieve. Tragically, the men on the ranch are forced to work their entire lives. After reading the novella, the reader understands the difficulties of living out West in the 1930s and realizes the "American Dream" was impossible for the common man to attain.