The American Dream In John Steinbeck's Novel "Of Mice And Men" And Lorraine Hansberry's Play "A Raisin In The Sun" .

2472 words - 10 pages

Immigrants from all over the world have gone to the United States of America in the hope of finding a better life for themselves and their children. This started with the Pilgrim fathers who saw America as a land of bounty where they would find both material and spiritual fulfillment. However, as the material improvement was easier and surpassed the spiritual purpose, their dream became purely material and therefore a failure from the point of view of many authors. This dream is fueled by the hope of one day leading a happy and prosperous life in a land that, more than any other country, allows the people the chance to "write the script of their own lives". The American Dream became the idea of an individual overcoming all obstacles and beating all odds to one day be successful. This subject is the predominant theme in John Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men as well as Lorraine Hansberry's classic play, "A Raisin in the Sun".Of Mice and Men, which takes place during the Great Depression in California, begins with George and his lumbering friend Lennie following a dusty path along the banks of the Salinas River, with their only possessions, their bedrolls and a few articles of clothing. Lennie, a mentally slow yet harmless man, had cost them their previous jobs; his innocent fascination with a young girl's red dress and his clumsy attempt to touch it had frightened the girl, forcing them to flee an angry mob. Now they were heading to a nearby ranch to sign on as farmhands. Using Lennie's love of animals as a means of control, George once more warned his friend that if he didn't keep quiet, or if he caused any trouble at the ranch, they wouldn't get the job they so badly needed; then they couldn't earn the money for their dream - a farm of their own. Later on in the novel, while the ranch hands entertained themselves with a simple game of horseshoes, Lennie stayed alone in the barn holding a pup that Slim, one of the other farm hands had given him. He did not realize that, through his constant and over-vigorous petting he had killed the puppy. As he sat in the straw of the barn playing with the animal's fur, the Boss's son's wife wandered in. At first Lennie refused to speak to her for fear that George might not let him feed the rabbits when they finally got their farm but the girl was able to make him feel at ease. She even let Lennie stroke her long, soft hair. After a while she tried to pull away, but Lennie unexplainably held on, he was confused and frightened when the girl started to scream. He began to shake her to make her stop. However, in his panic, the innocent but powerful Lennie broke the woman's neck. She too had a dream, the one of one day becoming a famous actress, that has now come to an abrupt end. After learning of the disastrous news, George grabbed a gun to join the other men who by now had been turned into a revenge-seeking mob by Curley, the woman's husband. Curley was determined to hunt down Lennie, who he considers to be a...

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