The Impossibility Of The American Dream Through Steinbeck: Shows That The American Dream Is Unattainable Through John Steinbeck's The Grapes Of Wrath And Of Mice And Men. 4 Pgs Long, Double Spaced.

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Kate McGowan, Steinbeck EssayAmerica has come to represent ideals such as wealth, happiness, and freedom. Immigrants travel to America in search of the American Dream, constructed of these hopes, although the majority of foreigners and natives alike never discover it. Various American novelists comprehend this unachievable desire and explore its depths in books that have now become classics. Among these novels are John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men and the same author's The Grapes of Wrath. In the first, two men with the names Lennie and George roam California in the 1930's, hunting for ranches to work on. However, Lennie is mentally ill and always provokes trouble, driving the two companions to become fugitives until the next rural occupation. The American Dream motivates the two men; their version being a homestead with crops and rabbits, until George reluctantly shoots and kills Lennie. In the latter novel, the Joad family is forced off their land and into California in pursuit of work and ultimately their vision of settling down in a white house with oranges. The family works efficiently and arduously, but remains in the miserable, poverty-stricken state in which they began. In his novels Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck exposes the American Dream as unattainable through his settings, symbolization, and characters.Steinbeck uses his settings to illuminate the unrealistic concept of the American Dream. Both novels occur in California in the 1930's. More specifically, in Of Mice and Men, the story unfolds on a ranch, where every worker desires the American Dream, but none acquire it. For instance, Curley's wife, who aspires to be a movie star, is murdered and Candy, who wishes to own a farm with Lennie and George, is condemned to remain at the ranch. The ranch is an accommodation for men, who have abandoned their dreams, to drudge through the week andthen spend their pay on temporary pleasure. As George is exciting Lennie with their future home and land, George describes men who work on ranches. He announces, "They come to a ranch an' work up a stake and then they go inta town and blow their stake, and the first thing you know they're poundin' their tail on some other ranch. They ain't got nothing to look ahead to" (13-14). Despite the ranch's employees' daily labor, all they have to look forward to is the next week's redundant momentary contentment. The ranch represents these men and reflects the impossibility of the American Dream, since all of its inhabitants fail to capture it. In addition, the intricately detailed settings in The Grapes of Wrath suggest the inaccessibility of the dream. For example, Steinbeck describes a roadside camp, "There was no order at the camp; little gray tents, shacks, cars were scattered about at random. The first house was nondescript. The south wall was made of three sheets of rusty corrugated iron, the east wall a square of moldy carpet tacked between two boards, the north...

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