This dream Is fueled by the hope of one day leading a happy and prosperous life in a land that, more than NY 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 novel Of Mice and Men as well as Lorraine Handlebar’s classic play, “A Rally In the Sun”.
Of Mice and Men, which takes place during the Great Depression in California, begins with George and his lumbering friend Leonie following a dusty path along the banks of the Salinas River, with their only possessions, their bedrolls and a few articles of looting. Leonie, 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. Sing Lien’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, Leonie 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 Leonie 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 Leonie stroke her long, soft hair. After a while she tried to pull away, but Leonie unexplainable 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 Leonie 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 Curler, the woman’s husband. Curler was determined to hunt down Leonie, who he considers to be a hulking, simple- harassers whose dream is not mentioned and he is the one represented as a truly sardonic being and he is the main character hindering the pursuit of the dream. Fortunately, it was George who found Leonie, trembling with fear, hiding among the bushes by the stream.
George too was fearful of what Curler would do to Leonie when he found him. For the final time George solemnly recounted the story of the farm for Leonie. As Leonie gazed out over the river, George aimed the gun at the back of his devoted friend’s head, and pulled the trigger. Of Mice and Men puts in play two main characters and quite a few secondary ones ho have the dream of one day owning a few acres of land on which they will grow their own food and tend their own livestock and becoming stars of their own lives. The dream, unglamorous as it may seem, is the lifelong goal that these individuals are striving for.
It gives a meaning and a motivation to the lives of the characters as well as a way to keep hope that there is a better life waiting for them down the road. Leonie, as well as George, needs constant reassurance that the dream will effectively come true, as the story itself is repeated a mere dozen times throughout the novel. PUP) “Someday we’re goanna live get the Jack together have a little house and a couple of acres an’ a cow and some pigs – An’ live off the fat the land”. It is the symbol of a paradise for men who want to be masters of their own lives.
The farm represents the possibility of freedom, self-reliance, and protection from the cruelties of the world. This relatively simple dream is seen by one as a perfectly attainable goal that does not imply any surrealistic actions to achieve. Why then does it fail? The “American Dream” as presented by John Steinbeck is, however, unattainable. PUP) ” I seen hundreds of men come by on the road an’ on the ranches, with their bindle’s on their back an’ that same damn thing in their heads…. Every damn one of ‘me’s got a little piece of land in his head. An’ never a God damn one of ‘me never gets it. Just like heaven….
Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land. It’s just in their head. ‘ Steinbeck view is perfectly illustrated through Crook’s statement, the one black ranch hand on the farm. There are always various obstacles that are put in the path of the characters making the dream unattainable. The most table barriers confronting this dream are Lien’s disability and society itself. It is because of Lien’s mental deficiencies that both George and Leonie are constantly on the run. They therefore do not have the possibility to settle in any given place and work for any extended period of time.
Hence they are unable to make the amount of money that is required to attain the dream. Society is also portrayed as a hurdle that one must overcome to achieve happiness through the “American Dream”. This statement is nonetheless paradoxical considering that society encourages the hashing of the “Dream” even though it does not assist anyone who dares take on its pursuit. There is also the hostile attitude of different members of society to the dreamers, exploiting them rather that helping them. In our novel, it is society that refuses to offer any help for Leonie but instead tries to eliminate the problem by liquidating it.
This is only one example of society hindering an individual’s attempts to fulfill his ambition. In this novel, Steinbeck shows that loyalty and a sense of family to their getting fired, George stays by his side. George could easily have achieved the ream if it had not been for Leonie. Even though he desperately wants to keep this new Job, George, remembering his previous experiences, makes sure that he and Leonie agree on a place to hide in the eventuality that something should go wrong. As much as the dream means to George, he wants to realize it with Leonie. Pl 5) “If you Jus’ happen to get in trouble like you always done before, I want you to come right here an’ hide in the brush. ” One message that is conveyed is that if you don’t care about someone or have someone with whom to share things, life does not have such meaning. (PUP) A conversation with Slim: ” I hardly never seen two guys ever travel together. You know how hands are, they Just come in and get their bunk and work a month, and then they quit and go out alone. Never seem to give a damn about nobody. “(PUP) ” I anti got no people. I seen the guys that go around on the ranches alone. That anti no good….
They get wanting’ to fight all the time. ” Steinbeck fills Of Mice and Men with struggling and bewildered heroes; common souls caught up in tragic combats as they innocently pursue the elusive promise of America. The novel’s tragic and ironic ending exposes Steinbeck concerns for equality and happiness of all members of the human family. These privileges are explicitly cited in the declaration of independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. However Steinbeck believes that those rights have slowly been forgotten. This is how the author of Of Mice and Men views the “American Dream”; as an unattainable mirage hat only causes pain and suffering. The barriers are always too great to overcome. Even though George knew of the improbability of achieving his dream, he still pushed forward. (PUP) I think I endowed from the very first. I think I endowed we’d never do her. He just like to hear about it so much I got to thinking we would. “”A Raisin in the Sun” conveys a far different message from Of Mice and Men. The play opens as the Younger family anxiously awaits the arrival of a check.
It is the life insurance check of ten thousand dollars, made payable to Lena (Mama) Younger, the head of the should, because of the death of her husband. The entire family lives within the walls of a tiny apartment and the play takes place entirely in its worn out, lived-in living room. When the check finally arrives, the family tells her to do what she pleases with the money. Walter irrationally urges Mama to give him the money to accomplish his dream of owning a liquor store but Mama refuses. Mama tells the family that she put a down payment on a house in Clubhouse Park with the insurance money.
Walter is upset and wonders why he can never be the one in charge of all actions. The entire family is concerned about the location because it is an all white neighborhood. While Mama is gone, Karl Lender, a white businessman and representative of the Clubhouse Park Welcoming Committee comes to the Younger household and offers to pay them off so that they will not move into the house. They throw him out and later tell Mama. Mama listens to Walter’s pleas to put him in charge of the remainder of the money and decides to give it to him. Part of it must go to Beneath medical school fund, but he may keep the rest.
Later on, Boob, one of the men with whom Walter Lee was planning to go into business, comes to the house. He announces that deposited it in the bank and has lost his father’s money forever. The entire family is outraged and deeply hurt. Walter decides to call Mr.. Lender over to accept his offer. Mama and Ruth, Walter Lee’s wife, cannot believe that Walter would sell his soul and his pride for money. However, upon Lender’s arrival, Walter Lee transforms into a mature man of pride and miraculously tells Lender that his family cannot be bought. Ultimately, the Younger move out of the apartment, fulfilling the family’s long-held ream.
Lorraine Handlebar’s view of the “American Dream” is the complete opposite of John Steinbeck. Throughout her play she stresses perseverance and belief in one’s self. This piece shows that those two qualities guarantee success and happiness even though it may not be in the form that they were hoping for. (PUP) “You see, this little liquor store we got in mind… ” Walter Lee, for one, was striving to own a liquor store and to better provide for his family. All the family members in this play have their own personal dreams that ultimately are of relatively minor importance.
Even though Walter Lee’s dream is not immediately fulfilled, we do get the impression that it will eventually come true. His dream of providing a good shelter for his family is realized albeit through a different path than the one that he had originally envisaged. It is not the means whereby the dream is attained but the actual accomplishment that carries the utmost importance. In the final analysis, the home has far more importance than any of the individual dreams, for it unites the family. Only an outcome of that amplitude would allow each individual to postpone his or her individual goals.
For this black family, the idea of the “American Dream” is also the attainment of equal rights that were at that time still being questioned. Home ownership was a powerful symbol for blacks. Regardless of the color of their skin and the discrimination that they face, they could envisage a comfortable safe place to live, where they had total liberty to do what they wanted to because they are no longer indebted to someone else. They had the same dreams and aspirations as anyone. What is the importance of dreams? We can find the answer to that question in Longs Hughes poem entitled ” Dreams”.
Hold fast to dreams, For if dreams die, Life is a broadening bird, That cannot fly. Hold fast to dreams, For when dreams go, Life is a barren field, Frozen with snow. ” do shrivel up like “a raisin in the sun”. This poem, whose author greatly influenced Loraine Handlebars in the writing of her play, perfectly illustrates the meaning of dreams. They are a driving force in everyone’s lives and must be present to lead a meaningful existence. In both pieces of literature the authors use dreams as driving forces in the lives of the characters. The final outcome is the only difference in each f the novels.
For one it is only an illusion: therefore leading to disappointment and disruption. Other authors whose view goes in the same direction and is even more radical are Arthur Miller whose Wily (Death of a Salesman) actually commits suicide, and Scott Fitzgerald (Great Gatsby) whose leading character is murdered and then buried alone to be forgotten by most. For the other it is something that is worth pursuing even though it may be very hard or nearly impossible to achieve. The dream of happiness is considered by many as the true synonym of the “American Dream”.
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