Dreams and Their Inevitability in Of Mice and Men, America and I, The Great Nation of Futurity
John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men approaches the concept of dreams and how it is virtually impossible to achieve. The novel follows the journey of two men, George and Lennie, and their attempt to live the American Dream. Just when they are about to accomplish their goal, Lennie does something catastrophically wrong, and the men are forced to abandon everything they had hoped for. Chasing after dreams that are practically unattainable is the nature of humankind, as it not only brings meaning to their lives but also allows them to find refuge in their hardships.
Of Mice and Men takes place during the Great Depression, a time where loneliness and adversities were ubiquitous in the lives of men. After escaping from Weed, Lennie pleads George to tell him about the dream that they share by asking “Come on, George. Tell me. Please George. Like you done before” (Steinbeck 13). Hungry and tired, George tells him the familiar story once again. Both men know that they will never get tired of it. The warmth and happiness of something as simple as a dream diverts their attention from their daily struggles, and prevents them from succumbing to the hard reality of their situation. At heart, George knows that the hope they have will never amount to anything, yet it is enough to bring meaning into their lives.
Dreams are what makes living life worthwhile. They give people the motivation to wake up every day and work towards a goal. In America and I, Anzia Yezierska expresses her hope in America by writing “There was such a freshness in my brains and such a willingness in my heart I could go on and on — not only with the work of the house, but work with my head” (Yezierska 68). When she had first arrived in America, Yezierska did not know any English, and struggled from cultural differences. However, what made her push forward was the American Dream. The fact that she was living her life in America, earning money and getting the chance to do what she wanted to do, gave her motivation to go on with her life, regardless of the fact that she was struggling to pay for basic needs. Without dreams, everyday life would be a monotone sequence of days, repeating without any real significance to it — no different from the code embedded into a machine signaling it what to do.
To conjure up a more ideal situation in hopes of it becoming a reality is an inevitable habit among mankind. John L. O’Sullivan’s The Great Nation of Futurity deals with the history of the United States and how it is a country destined to be the nation of the future. O’Sullivan refers to how “our national birth was the beginning of a new history, the formation and progress of an untried political system, which separates us from the past and connects us with the future only” (O’Sullivan 65). The beginning of the American nation began from a dream for a better situation. Innovation that benefits society first requires for people to dream. Dreams are what stimulates the imagination and allow for humankind to progress as a society, hence the tendency for people to have aspirations despite the fact that everything in reality is against them.
Dreams are the imagination of mankind. Instead of giving up and living the rest of their life meaningless, people live out each day having the motivation to work, regardless of whether the dream can even be achieved or not. Such impossibilities like these bring comfort into the lives of men, which is why they do not try, or ever have tried to prevent dreaming. It puts men at ease from their unwanted way of life by allowing for the freedom of direction of what they truly want in their lives. Dreams essentially allow for everlasting happiness and peace, yet it contradicts the idea of life, which is based upon growth from pain and hardships. Dreams are not so much something as what men can achieve, but rather it represents the perception of human happiness.
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