The Attainability of the American Dream in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath
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John Steinbeck's Great Depression novels Of Mice and Men (1937) and The Grapes of Wrath (1939) engage with the American Dream and the extent to which migrant farmers can attain it. Despite their engagement with this cornerstone of US society, literary critics tend to underestimate the present-day relevance of these works. This BA thesis performs a comparative close reading of the texts and argues that the American Dream is a myth: the characters of Lennie Small and Rose of Sharon Joad serve to underscore the fact that vulnerable people who depend on others are not granted a chance to pursue their Dream. Informed by Steinbeck's unpublished essay "Argument of Phalanx", this thesis also asserts interdependency and cooperation between migrant farmers could aid them in achieving the Dream and, by extension, transform the structure of US society.