“Steinbeck’s portrayal of the American dream in Off Mice and Men is an illusion”. Discuss
One of the major themes in Off Mice and Men is the American dream. The ranch workers all had their own dreams. However, these were all hard to attain since these ranch workers worked hard not to fulfill their dreams but only to make the ranch owner rich.
The main one, of course is that of George and Lennie of owning their ranch. Their dream is very central in the novel and perhaps they were the closest to attain this dream. In fact George’s narration of the dream in the novel becomes a ritual:
“Well it’s ten acres,” says George. “Got a little win’ mill. Got a little shack on it, an’ a chicken run. Got a kitchen, orchard, cherries, apples, peaches, ‘cots, nuts…”
To George, this dream of having their own place means independence, security, being their own boss, and most importantly being “somebody”. To Lennie, the dream is like the soft animals he pets: it means security, the responsibility of tending to the rabbits, and a sanctuary where he will not have to be afraid. Yet this dream goes deeper than this. This was a typical American dream in the time of the book which most Americans shares along with George and Lennie.
Later on their dream becomes more attainable with the addition of Candy to their dream. He offers his savings to buy the ranch in return of a place to stay. This ranch will offer him security and where he can assert the responsibility he did not take when he let Carlson kill his dog.
“Everybody wants a little bit of land, not much. Jus’ som’thin’ that was his.
Som’thin’ he could live on and there couldn’t nobody throw him off of it.”
Crooks is also attracted to the dream despite of his first comment about it “You’re nuts”. He is realistic. He knows that there is a very few hope of attaining it. He says “Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody never gets no land”. However, he also adds himself to the dream. He asks if there was...