The American Dream in American Literature Working hard is the key to success.This struggle for success is most commonly called the “American Dream.”The aspect of the American Dream has been around forever and is often the underlying theme in many pieces of American literature.The theme of the American is especially presented in Of Mice and Men written by John Steinbeck, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Two Kinds writer by Amy Tan, and in “Sophistication” by Sherwood Anderson.
The theme of the American Dream is presented in Of Mice and Men.The theme is particularly expressed through and around the characters of George and Lennie.Both of these characters have a belief, a dream of owning their own little place to call their own, or as George would say “We’re gonna have a little place and a couple of acres an’ some cows and some pigs..
.”(Steinbeck,14)This dream is mostly expressed through Lennie but George is the one who supports Lennie. Lennie is the most dedicated to the dream.This dedication is shown when he said “An’ live off the fatta the lan.”(Steinbeck,14)This proven b critics like Kevin Attell who said ”This is the kind of life that George and Lennie dream of living.”(Attell) Also, the theme of the American Dream is presented in Of Mice and Men through the character of Candy.Candy is an old farm hand who is becoming of not much use around the farm anymore.
Candy knows that desperate times call fordesperate measures so he goes in on George and Lennie’s plan to buy a little farm.This is shown when candy says “It’ll be our own place.”(Steinbeck,60)Candy shows great spirit throughout the book and really shows off the good aspects of the American Dream.It is only until the end of the book until the plan to go away starts to be questioned.
He starts saying questions like ”You an’ me can get that little place cannot we, George?”(Steinbeck,94)This denial was once again recognized my Kevin Attell, who said “George and Lennie’s dream is specifically necessitated by and responds to the limitations played on their lives.”(Attell)By using Candy as a character striving for the American Dream, the fact that the dream is attainable to all is presented. Furthermore, through the character of Curley’s wife, the theme of the Dream is presented.The fact that Curley’s wife hates her life makes a huge contrast between her bad life and the possibilities associated with the American Dream.This contrast is shown in the line “Coulda’ been in the movies an’ had nice clothes.”(Steinbeck,89)Curley’s wife is presents the epitome ofa person striving for the American Dream.
She often says things like “I coulda made something of myself….maybe I will yet.”(Steinbeck,88)By Steinbeck using this character, he intended to show the difference between a “fake” yearning for the dream and a true whole-hearted desire for it.
Curley’s wife would give anything to be successful in the future.This view is also seen by Kevin Attell who said “ To be sure, it is about dreaming of the future…”(Attell)The opinion from this critic show that this opinion or view is also seen by others who read this book. In perspective, The Great Gatsby written by F. Scott Fitzgerald also has many examples of the American Dream.
The main character, Gatsby, shows by far the most want for something better in his life. Gatsby often shows this yearning.For example, when he said “You should live in California,” he was inferring that a better life awaits in California.(Fitzgerald,18)Growing up, Gatsby had all that he needed, but from an early age he showed signs of wanting more in life.As he expressed this hi s father would remind him that he was very fortunate by saying “Just remember that all of the people in the world haven’t had all of the advantages that you’ve had.
”(Fitzgerald,5)critics have also seemed to have seen the dream presented in Fitzgerald’s writing.In particular, Kenneth Eble has seen in it, saying “The American Dream comes together in The Great Gatsby.”(Eble) Also, the character of Daisy is and example of the American Dream.This is shown by Daisy yearning for something better in her life. This is shown when she says “Sophisticated, God I’m so sophisticated.”(Fitzgerald,22)Daisy’s dreamis to move to Hollywood and become a famous movie star.Daisy also recognizes the other characters’ dreams when she said “Gatsby bought that house so that he would be just across the bay.
”(Fitzgerald,83)She recognizes this in the book and this is what brings Daisy and Gatsby together by the end of the book.This recognition of the dream is due to the big effect that it has on Nick, the narrator of the story. Without this influence, many themes of the dream in the book would not be expressed so deeply..