In Of Mice and Men, it is clear that America did not achieve what it promised in the Great American Dream. The American government did not initiate any policies to protect the interests of workers and the poor, causing them to be constantly abused and mistreated and forcing them to adhere to long working hours in exchange for low wages. “Candy was going to be canned because of his old age”. Despite all his previous contributions to the farm, Candy was going to be set aside from the farm just because he was too old to do jobs as effectively as people of a younger age. As the American government did not impose any laws to protect old people who were still working to earn a living, employers could just hire and fire people anytime they want.
The absence of retirement pensions meant that people who retired could only scrape by every day with the meager amount of money they pooled from working day to night every day in the past decades. They are not recognized properly for all the contributions they made to their jobs and even the country itself, being shunned aside when they are of a lower ability than others who are much younger and fitter. As such, they are unable to enjoy the rest of their lives in happiness which they deserve. This can be seen in the case of Candy as he only had 350 dollars in his savings after getting canned. This amount was not even sufficient to afford basic housing, hence buying items that they want is definitely a no-no as he is expected to live with that amount for the rest of his life. This contradicts the claim that success is achieved on the grounds of hard work and determination, since people were forced to live in suffering for the rest of their lives despite putting in effort.
Furthermore, George and Lennie only earned 50 dollars each per month, although the average income during the Great Depression was $1368 according to National Archives. This wage is certainly unfair as they have such a strenuous and taxing job but still cannot earn enough money to get by. Wages were decided by employers and there was no such thing as minimum wage. Thus, this is usually exploited to overwork their employees and underpay them. Not only are employees being treated unfairly, they also did not dare to oppose due to fear of being canned as it was difficult to secure a job back then with their lack of proper education. Thus, it can be said that the employers are in complete control over their employees and do not have to give in to them even if they oppose as they can easily find new employees to replace them while employees risk not being able to find new jobs. The payment that they get is so low that they are almost unable to survive on it, and reaching their dream of tending to a farm of their own is nothing but a joke as seen from others’ eyes. Thus, the Great American Dream did not protect the rights of every social class as seen where the poor are always being mistreated by the rich and the rich could exploit the system to become even richer, exacerbating the income gap and confining many within their respective social classes since they are unable to achieve social mobility no matter how hard they work.
To characters in Of Mice and Men, the Great American Dream was just a fallacy, a lie told by the American Government to attract more immigrants to boost the economy. George and Lennie always had a dream but owning a farm and making it rich was only a small part of it. The bigger hope which allured George and Lennie is the idea that they will not be owned by another person. However, it was impossible to succeed. It took every dime of their salary to survive, but when Candy offered his savings, there was hope, but not for long as whatever they did resulted in failure, from the incident in the weed to the killing of the puppy. It was evident that their ultimate dream would fail as well. As expected, George’s Great American Dream died alongside Lennie as he realized what a hoax the promise was. It was simply unachievable as he could only inch forward to reach his goal with many impossible obstacles in between. In the end, despite hoping and trying so hard, he still had no choice but to kill his best pal, who had dreamt of the same thing day and night with George, so as to grant him a quick death free of pain and torture. All these happened before he was even close to his dream. He realized that the rich would always tower above him and reach their dreams easier, and that even if people like him were given chances, it would still be close to impossible to reach these dreams, thus the Great American Dream was just something that should be ridiculed and sneered at from George and Lennie’s perspective.