The American Dream Portrayed In Of Mice And Men By John Steinbeck Vs The Reality Of A Migrant Worker

2658 words - 11 pages

A Comparison of the American Dream Portrayed in Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and the Reality of a Migrant Worker

Of Mice and Men is a novel written by John Steinbeck in 1937, this
novel concentrates on the lives of migrant workers. Steinbeck's
purpose is to show the reality of achieving the American Dream- as the
title suggests. 'To a Mouse… The best laid schemes o' Mice and Men,
Gang aft agley,' is the source of the book's title. It translates
roughly into 'no matter how well we may plan the future, things often
go wrong.

The American dream posed the idea that every individual - through hard
work and personal sacrifice could achieve success, by being their own
boss on their own land. The American government started this concept;
they encouraged the idea by giving out free land. But unfortunately
the Wall Street Crash crushed the dream in 1929. The U.S entered a
period of economic depression, and during this period hoards of
migrant workers came to California in search of work, the dream on
their minds. Most of these migrants were men who traveled alone; they
had no friends or family around. They moved from ranch to ranch
working for a short time at each never able to settle. They worked
very hard in poor conditions on poor pay, therefore Migrant workers
had to dream of a better future in order to survive. Without dreams no
one would have a reason to keep going.

Steinbeck's main task is to show the reality of a migrant workers
life, to achieve this he must make the story seem as real-life as
possible. Steinbeck does various things in the story to create an
atmosphere of reality. One thing is he uses a geographical setting-
the places are real and the storyline is in a chronological order;
chapter 1 is Thursday night, chapter 2 is Friday morning, chapter 3 is
Friday evening and so on. Real life items are used like the pulp
magazine. Steinbeck uses dialect and colloquial language, which helps
to add to the realism of the story. For example 'Awright,' he said
brusquely. 'Gi'me that mouse!' says George Milton.

The purpose of this essay is to compare the migrant workers reality
with their dream. I will start by looking at their dreams. George and
Lennie are the two migrant workers's who are the focus of the story.

Every migrant worker would dream of a better future. George and Lennie
represent any migrant of their time. Their dream is to save up enough
'stake' money to buy their own small ranch, thereby escaping from the
poverty, insecurity and inevitable loneliness of the life of a migrant
worker. George and Lennie see themselves different from other
migrants. When they first recite the dream, George describes the life
of a migrant worker who has no future: 'Guys like us, that work on
ranches are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family, they
don't belong no...

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