English 11

Of Mice and Men Discussion

  • What is Steinbeck suggesting about the American experience?

Today we focus on the stories of
  • Slim
  • Candy
  • Curley
  • Curley's wife
  • Crooks

Period 2

Amanda: Curley's wife's story She shows the American Dream-- on 91. when Lennie kills her, everyone's dream dies. Her dream--to be in shows--fails. Lennie wants the life on the farm with George and Candy with rabbits.
Munazza: I want to add to Amanda's. Crooks' dream also dies (81-3) when Lennie kills C's wife
Amanda: Perhaps it's saying that the land of dreams/opportunities doesn't always work for everyone.
Jake: I realize that the American dream opportunity is a double-edged sword. When someone's dream is achieved, another's is not. It creates a cycle where one's achieved means another's not. The Am. Dream is an image in a cloud, "a dream"--not a realistic goal.Ex. Lennie's dream to have animals depends on George's dream to have the house, which brings Candy in, which dilutes theri dream in order for another's to be achieved.
Jerica: Going off of what Jake said--that the Am. Experience is something that causes people to aim high and get something less. Lennie has a childlike Am. Dream of bunny rabbits and happiness. Their dream comes way short. This represents the Am. Dream.
Garrett: re: Jake's--Crooks's dream of having land and a house (75-6) Lennie's talking about his dream and Crooks talks about how Lennie's dream is being undercut by George's whoring. But George shows how if they work hard for one month, they can get it. So the suggestion is that a dream is obtainable. What kills their dream is not money, but Lennie's being unable to achieve their dream. His disability kills it.
Sam: I found that the pleasures people seek are what kills their dreams--ex. (76) Crooks says he's seen it too many times.
Martin: Another example of pleasure leading to dream death is Lennie in Weed and in the present ranch. His pleasure seeking leads to its death.
Alba: I think that random incidents (accidents) interfere with people's dream achievement. Lennie and George's dream is killed this way. When he kills Curley's wife it's unexpected. (91) He starts panicking after she resists, and it's more of an accident than an intentional.
Martin: Lennie is like a dog--at the end he dies like a dog. He even uses the same gun to kill him.
Munazza: I also remember that when Candy's dog was killed he says he wishes he did it himself. And so
Jerica: Candy shows that one's Am. Dream does not come easily. (58-60) They're talking about their plan, "you know where there's a place like that?..." Candy's excitement shows that one's dream can come out of nowhere, unexpectedly, but when the last events occur, it shows that the dream can as easily disappear.
Ted: I noticed that when Lennie kills her, he keeps holding on to her, symbolizing how one holds on to one's dream, even after she's dead (91).
Jake: To respond to Ted, I didn't see her as a dream symbol, but reather that people will give way to his vices, and this leads to the death of his dream.
Alba: Ted says that one holds onto a dream after it's gone.If you hold onto a dead dream, you get bitter. Ex. Curley's wife, when (88) she tells Lennie that her dream is gone. And now she's a selfish person who doesn't care about getting others in trouble. Crooks also shows that when his dream is denied (for friendship and company), (73) he is bitter.
Hisham: I infer that Curley may have wished (dreamed) he were taller. On pg. 26, Candy talks about how his meanness comes from his dream of being big and strong is denied.
Garrett: Going off of these, Candy's dream (96) is destroyed. He's already somewhat bitter since the dog is shot. On 98, he's completely given up on the dream. He knows he'll be canned and his last hope is gone.
KJ: Going along with others, on pg. 26, it shows that if you are overconfident about a dream, you will probably not achieve it.
Amanda: going along with the assertion that Americans don't take care of the disabled, neither do they take care of the elderly--both the dog and the disabled are got rid of.
Garrett: going off of KJ--the Am. Dream has been one achieved over time. You can only achieve it to the extent that you work over a long period of time, "paying dues" to do the little things. Greed for it shows no respect for the process.
Jake: Agreed. The book shows that the Am. Dream needs a strong foundation. Hard work is always a part of it. When Lennie is telling Crooks that George is in town, it goes counter to what's necessary to build up the dream.
Munazza: I want to disagree with Jake. G and L are definitely hard workers. Candy is too. They have random things destroy their dream.

PT. 2

Leland: This is the saddest book I've ever read. On 106, inevitably G. kills Lennie, "George threw the gun..." One thing Steinbeck may be saying is that sacrifices are necessary to achieve dreams. George sure doesn 't want to do this. Normally, the others would have killed him without a problem. It's a sacrifice for George. I also find it ironic and significant that the gun near the pile of ashes --which is where the book starts up. One thing Steinbeck might be saying is that things wind up where they begin.
Jaime: Crooks' dream is for justice goes nowhere.
Leland: Crooks is also the devil's advocate. He likes company, but he criticizes others for having dreams of fun. Pg. 73--"I didn't mean to scare you.... I just don't know."
Jamie: He's describing his solitude.
Emily: Curley's story suggests that in the American experience, there will be mean people, and people who judge on the basis of appearance.
Kayla: It was good that G kills Lennie and not Curley. On 107--Slim tells him "you hadda. I swear you hadda."
Anthony: (107) His end shows that friends will always be there for you.
Mark: I think it's suggesting that you can get the dream by being peaceful. Slim demonstrates this. He is the one the others go to for advice. He is not violent. On pg. 36, he asks whether G and L have eaten. He's more sympathetic. He's achieved happiness, if not the dream.
Lauren: I don't think it's peacefulness that leads to the dream, but getting the dream, you'll get peaceful.
Leland: Going off Mark, I think Slim is so calm because he realizes that others' dreams may not be achievable. He's accepted what he has and so he's peaceful--he doesn't want for more. He's content. The nicest people are those who are content with what they have.
Eric: On pg. 48 you see Slim at peace. He says, "you can have one of my dogs," which shows that he's willing to give, which he might not do were he not content.
Emily: Maybe it suggests that to get your dream you must go through obstacles, sacrifice to achieve. When he gives the OK to Candy's dog getting shot, and he sacrifices one of his, that leads to another's happiness.
Dylan: George has an obstacle to his dream: Lennie. He has a burden, loses jobs, etc., And at the end he must sacrifice his friend --another obstacle.
Leland: maybe it's not just mentally handicapped persons, but a boss or another who makes you feel unwelcome or a supportive person. George is always supporting Lennie. So G is a parental figure for L to do well. He's afraid of angering G.

Period 3

Rebecca: Lennie, who cannot take care of himself, takes care of little animals; American dream requires self-reliance. That's why his dream fails.
Hope: I agree. George is responsible for Lennie, and he does it not for pay but for does it out of a sense of responsibility (40) "Him and me were..." George "needs" the responsibility.
Rebecca: on 58 "and rabbits... tell how I'd do it, George" This shows that Lennie feels the need to take care of something.
Emma: I agree that Am. Society brings responsibility on individ. But maybe too much--when George shoots Lennie (104-07) George has pressure to take care of Lennie--even to kill him. He has more respon. than anyone should have.
Quags: George eliminates obstacles in the way of his dream, to progress. Lennie is an obstacle, so he's eliminated.
Schwee: I think the book is suggesting that Ams will do whatever they need to live. I agree that George has too much responsibility and so he needs to get rid of Lennie before he can progress.
Fi: George finds that eliminates Lennie to be the best he can be. He loves him and the responsibility for him.
Marlow: to extend Quags--George is always eliminating obstacles, like he does to Curley's wife. He warns Lennie away from him.
Jeremy: I disagree--he kills L from love/compassion. He is odd because of his care for his friend. Even in the end, he kills L because Curley will kill him without compassion.
Matt W: I agree. He kills out of compassion--it's best for both of them. I saw similarities betw G and Candy and Lennie and the dog. George sees how Candy's dog holds him back, but eventually, it's best for him to get rid of him. Candy doesn't take responsibility, and feels remorse. That's what gets G to do the deed.
LJ: My claim is that People take care of others for their own benefit. Ex. George doesn't want to feel guilty about Lennie being alone. Pg. 107 G says "I just dunnit" He says it tiredly. He kills L just so he want have to feel guilty when Curley does it.
Nikki: I disagree, I think G does care. He helps him throughout, never leaves him. He kills him to help L, because otherwise he dies painfully. So Americans do take selfless care of others.
Peter: I agree. G says he stops hurting L. because he cares about him. (40) This backs up Nikki's.
Cori: It seems that the Am. Dream is to get on top and be superior to others. The book shows that you can be caring, but only if it doesn't hurt your own chances. Ex. Curley is shorter but tries to beat up others and gain superiority. G's put downs of L are about his feeling superior to something, he wants to feel in charge. In the first part of the book, G talks about how much better his life would be w/out L. Even though G kills L, it's not G in charge.
Kevin: Some evidence that G does care: he kills L--if he didn't he'd let them kill him as they want. He keeps it a secret and makes sure it's him. He also makes sure that L is comfortable, in the most humane way.
LJ: On pg. 10, G. says "to hell with rabbits, etc." This doesn't show much care for L. He gives him no compassion. He might also be killing L because he wants to avoid feeling guilty.
Lois: I think in America, it's about influence. On 76-77 when Candy, L and Crooks are talking, Candy shows how he's influenced by G and L's dream. Your Am. Dream can be caught/from someone else's influence.
Peter: When G kills L, he tells the rabbit story. His put down of L earlier is out of momentary anger.
Matt E.: In the story, it suggests that trying to obtain the Am. Dream is foolish or near impossible. Throughout the story of self sufficiency is told, and Candy wants to contribute, and they start seeing it is possible. Just when it is close to being possible, the bad things lead to its fulfillment.
Fi: Are you saying that if you seek it too hard it won't come?
Matt E.: If you seek it, you will fail. The people in power have it from the start--they haven't got it perfectly either.
Jeremy: I disagree. It shows that you have to do it. The world gives you tests and you must overcome them to achieve your dream. If G really wants his dream, he won't give up. He can go on and overcome his setbacks.
Kevin: Back to Matt's--an ex. of a dream being pulled away is when Crooks, Candy are there talking, you see Crooks' dream fulfilled a bit, then Curley's wife comes and reminds him that in fact he has no chance of getting his dream. Perhaps the Am. Dream is unattainable because you're not going to be perfectly content with it. You'll always find something more to achieve.
Rebecca: I agree w/ Kevin and Matt. In the book there's no possibility for success. Candy and others do not have faith that you can achieve your dreams.
Schwee: I agree w. Kevin--the Am. Dream is about getting ever more stuff, but never achieving "it." The book shows this by giving the plan of their dream, they are "greedy" and lead to their own failure.
Fi: I agree. Generally, Americans do not obtain the Am. Dream. There is always something you can make better. Going off of Jeremy's many Am.s find excuses for their setbacks instead of making things better.
Jeremy: If Crooks were more determined, he would succeed.