Of Mice and Men has been heralded as one of the most definitive statements on the elusiveness of the American Dream as Steinbeck creates characters whose simple desires can never be achieved.
It is often noted that the author succeeds in democratizing tragedy. Typically, a tragic hero must fall from great heights; such is the source of tragedy. Shakespearean tragedy typifies this notion as all of his tragic heroes are men and women of great importance: kings, queens, princes, generals, aristocrats, etc. Steinbeck’s characters are anything but, and still he employs them in the creation of earnest and poignant tragedy.
For your final exam, I would like you to consider a single character from the text and compose a character analysis. This analysis should not be a random list of attributes. Instead, I want you to explore the character with regards to his/her failed dream. Don’t simply provide a plot summary–in fact, that is precisely what I don’t want. As you only have about 2 to 3 pages to complete this, your focus should be on INTERPRETING the nature of this character. Here’s an example:Curly’s wife confides in Lennie that she wants to be a Hollywood actress, but really, her biggest desire is for companionship. Like everyone else on the Tyler Ranch, she is terribly lonely. Paradoxically, she can be quite mean to those around her (see: Crooks). She is also guilty of dangerous flirtation, soliciting a reputation as a tramp. These attributes can be explored in your analysis as they all have to do with her loneliness.
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