The American Dream In Of Mice And Men By John Steinbeck

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Every single person dreams. Some dream of having the perfect home and family, while others desire immense happiness. Similarly, the “American dream” is unique to each individual but is most commonly defined as reaching a point in life where life, liberty, and happiness has been achieved. The characters in Of Mice and Men each have their own perfect life that they are striving for. In the novel, this status seems almost impossible for some of the characters. They are held back by society and its ideals for being who they are. John Steinbeck uses Lennie, Curley’s wife, Candy, and Crooks to portray that for most people the “American Dream” is unattainable.
The mentally ill are arguably the most focused on characters on in the book. Lennie, one
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He tries his hardest and puts all of his effort into his work, but is too old and weak to do the tasks he used to. Candy also had a dog that he had raised since he was a pup, but the other ranch hands overpowered Candy and convinced him to end the dog’s life. The young men make it seem like when you are older there is no point in living anymore: “Carl’s right, Candy. That dog ain’t no good to himself. I wisht somebody’d shoot me if I got old an’ a cripple.” (Steinbeck 45). Candy is held back from achieving the “American Dream” by his age and the opinions society has on older generations. Before Lennie and George started working on the ranch, Candy did not have much to keep him going. They sparked a new interest inside of him. Lennie and George were going to let Candy come with them to their dream farm and do the smaller jobs that he could complete. This meant that he would not have to push himself everyday to do work that was difficult for him. It is almost as if Candy knew his downfall was coming, but he now had something to look forward to in the later years of his life: “Jus’ as soon as I can’t swamp out no bunkhouses they’ll put me on the county. Maybe if I give you guys my money, you’ll let me hoe in the garden even after I ain’t no good at it… But I’ll be on our own place, an’ I’ll be let to work on our own place.” (Steinbeck 60). Candy shared a similar dream to George and Lennie. However, while they wished to live off the land and not work for someone anymore, Candy just wanted his life to be a little less stressful and more pleasant. His dream is deemed unachievable at the end of the story when George shoots Lennie. The goal is also more difficult because of his age. It is assumed that because older people are weaker and may have less time in the world, their dreams are void and just thoughts not plans. The “American Dream” seemed unattainable for Candy, and it may be this way for most older

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