I chose to read the book “Of Mice and Men,” by John Steinbeck. It is a novella about the story of George and Lennie who are two migrant ranch workers who are constantly on the move around California seeking work during the Great Depression. George and Lennie seem to be complete opposites and it is evident from the begininng that Lennie suffers from some sort of mental disorder, which sort of puts George in a caretaker position that impacts their dynamic and relationship throughout the book. The main motif in their storyline, however, is their dream of one day owning a farm on their own with rabbits and crops and being free of the worry of not being able to have a place to live or being able to pay for food and what not. Their dream literally is meant to represent the American Dream and what it meant to George and Lennie and probably many other similar people at the time of the Great Depression. However, by the end of the novel, they haven’t managed to accomplish their goal/dream, which is one of the major themes of the novel. The novel focuses on the impossibility of the American Dream and this notion manifests itself in a number of characters throughout the book. Many of the characters had their own version of an American Dream, but what they all had in common was the fact that they never achieved it. For one, Curley’s wife wanted to be a movie star. However, she finds herself dragged down by her marriage that she is unhappy with. Similarly, Crooks and Candy both join onto the idea of one day living on their own farm with George and Lennie and living off the fat of the land, as they would say in the book. And then most obviously, George and Lennie never made it to accomplish their dream, which also stopped Crooks and Candy from getting to live it out with them. All of these characters’ desires for happiness and to follow their dreams is a common idea but at the end of the day achieving them was impossible.
“Of Mice and Men” is one of my favorite books and I regularly re-read it because it just left such a memorable impression when I first read it. I loved the kind of bleak undertone that was omnipresent throughout the book, despite some of the characters’ attempts to stay hopeful at times when they knew their dreams were impossible and out of reach. I also really enjoyed the ending because it is refreshing to have a book with a more harsh ending because I think it gives a more realistic story for the reader.