John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men is set during the Great Depression and follows the story of two migrant workers, George Milton and Lennie Small. George and Lennie's American dream is different from the original idea which was published by author and historian James Adams. In 1931, when Adams first wrote about the concept of the American dream he was referencing the idea that a richer and fuller life meant that everyone had opportunity according to their ability and achievement. This original concept was not centered around material things, but of the idea that social order would allow every man and every woman opportunity.
By the time the Great Depression hit, the American Dream had changed. During the these years many Americans lived in poverty and struggled just to survive. The American dream became centered around living comfortably and owning a home. For George and Lennie it meant not only owning their own home, but owning their own farm. As migrant workers life for George and Lennie has been hard. Their American dream represents not having to answer to a boss and living comfortably.
As George says in chapter 3,
"We'd just live there. We'd belong there. There wouldn't be no more runnin' around the country and gettin fed by a Jap cook. No, sir, we'd have our own place where we belonged and not sleep in no bunkhouse" (Steinbeck 57).