Dreams Vs. Reality Essay

964 words - 4 pages

For years, America has been the number one place that people go when they have a dream. This idea has been titled the American Dream. The American Dream is defined as “the ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity traditionally held to be available to every American.” In the story Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, two friends named George Milton and Lennie Small travel to a ranch during the time of the Great Depression, looking for work. Throughout the story, George and Lennie keep in mind the dream of owning a farm. George tries to keep Lennie, who has the mental capacity of a five year old, out of trouble. However, their dream is destroyed after Lennie accidentally murders Curley’s wife; a flirtatious woman who was provoking him. In the end, George has to make the dreadful decision to kill Lennie. Of Mice and Men uses symbolism to emphasize that the American Dream is very delicate, if not unobtainable, which allows it to be easily shattered.
The destruction of George and Lennie’s dream of the farm symbolizes the impossibility of the American Dream. While gawking over the dead body belonging to Curley’s wife, George speaks his mind to Candy; “I think I knowed from the very first. I think I knowed we’d never do her. He usta like to hear about it so much I got to thinking maybe we would” (Steinbeck 94). In other words, George is admitting that deep down he always knew that they would never attain the farm. George simply used the dream to keep Lennie happy. However, because Lennie loved it so much, George began to believe that it could actually transpire. George knew all along that they would never acquire the farm, but it was only brought to reality after Lennie killed Curley’s wife. Alternatively, Lennie’s mental state prevented him from ever realizing that the dream was a bust. George used the dream to put Lennie in a happy place right before George shot him. Thus, George knowing the dream of the farm was over since the beginning illustrates the true difficulty to obtain the American Dream.
The failure to stand up against the killing of his dog symbolizes the idea that Candy’s dream of continuing to work is crushed. When only George, Lennie, and Candy were in the bunkhouse, Candy said; “I oughtta of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn’t oughtta of let no stranger shoot my dog” (Steinbeck 61). Candy was angry with himself because he let Carlson shoot his dog. Candy never wanted his dog to die, but he was afraid to confront Carlson about it. Consequently, Candy knows that they will treat him exactly how they treated the dog. When the time comes where he cannot work productively anymore, he will be canned. Candy then latches onto George and Lennie’s dream of the farm, because he is hopeful that they will let him work even...

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