The American dream gives people something to strive for without knowing if it will prevail or break down. This is evident in the novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and the play A raisin in the Sun. The ranchers from the novel and the Younger family from the play are perfect examples of exceeding or failing the American dream.
The idea of an American dream that fails is shown in the novel Of Mice and Men. For example, the main protagonists, George and Lennie, as well as the supporting character, Candy, have a dream about being their own boss and doing what they want. This dream is represented by a quote in the story in chapter 1, pg 16 ‘O.K. Someday – we’re gonna get the jack together and we’re … gonna have a little house and a couple of acres.”Their dream goes to ruins due to Lennie being shot and dying before they can accomplish their dream. One more example is shown by Curley’s wife’s dream to live a better life. This is shown in the quote in chapter 5, pg 86 ‘I tell you I ain’t used to livin’ like this. I coulda made somethin’ of myself.’ She is unable to achieve this dream and is killed by Lennie on accident instead.
The view of an American dream that succeeds is shown in the play A Raisin in the Sun. For instance, A protagonist in the story, named Mama, dreams of getting a house. She achieves this dream and moves to her new house with her family.this is shown in a quote on page 91 that mama says to her grandchild talking about herself”She went out and bought you a house!”. An additional case, is another protagonist called Walter. His dream is to be the man of the family and provide support for them. He achieves this dream by standing up for his family and not taking the money that was collected to stop him and his family from moving into the neighborhood. This is presented in a quote on page 148 “We have decided to move into our house” followed by “We don’t want your money.”
The American dream is an image that can lead people to either succeed or end in failure and is shown perfectly in this novel and play. The novel shows being unable to achieve this American dream while the play shows people succeeding in this American dream. The American dream can make people strive for greatness but these efforts can backfire and end in downfall.