The American Dream is the ideology that anyone, regardless of where they are born or what class they are born into, can attain their own version of success in a society where upward mobility is possible for everyone. The American Dream is achieved through sacrifice, risk-taking and hard work, not by chance (“American Dream.”). Through the progression of time, the ¨American Dream¨ has had two meanings. Prior to the great recession, as exemplified in the novel, The Great Gatsby, by F.
Scott Fitzgerald, the roaring twenties became the acquisition of material items; At the same time, Fitzgerald warns that a pursuit of happiness driven only by greed is completely unattainable; thus proving that someone else always had or wants more.
This ¨greed¨ leeds the stock market into an inevitable crash initiating the Great Depression. As the Great Depression onsets, the definition shifts towards a more meaningful life with self value of contribution, nature, and accomplishment. People begin to lack basic necessities; money and shelter.
The ¨new¨ American Dream is exemplified in the story, Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, wherefore, Steinbeck deems it unattainable by epitomizing it through the characters Lennie (with a mental disability) and George. They are living in a self reliant world, where instead, they count on each rather than fend for themselves in order to reach Eden. Thus proving that the American Dream is nothing but an envision of fantasy proclaimed by the American people.
The novel opens in the hillside of the Gabilan Mountains, by a tranquil river with warm water and twinkling yellow sands.
Nature is exemplifying tranquility and purity that is ultimately interrupted by two men and a mental disability. During the Great Depression, everyone is fending for themselves and no one is looking out for one and other; people are trying to survive day to day. Lennie and George, unlike most folks, rely on each other. George looks out for Lennie for years, the two stick together in order to try and achieve their goal of owning a farm– (reaching eden), “O.K. Someday–We’re gonna get the jack together and we’re gonna have a little house and a couple of acres an´ a cow and somepigs and–¨ ¨An´ live off the fatta the lan´ (Steinbeck 14).¨
The reality of their dream is clouded by hopes and dreams to one day to dispense from their current life of illusion and misery to one of sublimity. Their version of the ¨American Dream¨ is portrayed by fronted anticipation. Lennie is constantly troubled by his mental disability, yet he is always protected by George. As stated in the beginning of the novel, the two have fled their initial job in Weed because Lennie latches onto a little girls dress. In actuality, Lennie does not know his own strength; which in turn will influence future occurrences. Low and behold, Lennie encounters a woman, Curley’s wife, who George demands he never speaks to, “Don’t you even take a look at that bitch. I don’t care what she says and what she does. I seen ‘em poison before, but I never seen no piece of jail bait worse than her.
You leave her be (Steinbeck 32).” George fears there will be a recocurrence, just like in Weed. Surely, Curley’s wife approaches Lennie in the barn… As events escalade, Lennie ends up petting her hair, hence is liking for “soft things.” She has an unanticipated reaction by lennie causing him to shake her so hard that her neck breaks. He does not kill Curley’s wife on purpose, he merely wants her to be quiet. George’s fear at last becomes a reality, his companion does the one thing he continually asks him not to do, talk to Curley’s Wife. At this point, George comes to a realization that his dream truly is at an end, even more so than it was.
In all actuality, only the strongest survive during a time period allying the Great Depression; the strong pick on the weak and the weak pick on the weaker. The reader can sense that the dream of owning a farm is the exterior frontal of the inevitable. In the midst of it all, Lennie as well as a result of the Great Depression is the ¨reason¨ that their so called ¨dream¨ never truly exists. Therefore proving that the American Dream is nothing but an externalized imagination, as exemplified by Steinbeck in, Of Mice and Men.