John Steinbeck Common Themes

3278 words 14 pages
Born in 1902 in Salinas, California, Nobel Prize winner, John Steinbeck, was one of the most important writers in America during the 20th century. In his novels, East of Eden, Of Mice and Men, Cannery Row, and In Dubious Battle, Steinbeck explores what it takes for a person to find true happiness in life. Steinbeck addresses the pursuit for happiness in one’s life—the American Dream—, by questioning modern idea of it being achieved through material items and the path people take to accomplish it. Steinbeck also addresses the happiness people find in relationships and how connecting to someone can affect a person’s decisions in life. To communicate his ideas with the reader, Steinbeck creates the storyline of his novels, connecting his …show more content…
Ultimately, through multiple examples in the novel, Steinbeck suggests the American dream acts more of as a motivator rather than a reality.
While Steinbeck uses George and Lennie to convey the unachievable American Dream, he also uses them to convey the importance of relationships. Friendship plays a major role in the story development, greatly affecting the actions of George and Lennie. George demonstrates this theme’s effect on him when he talks to Lennie about sticking together: “‘where the hell could you go?’…’How’d you eat. You ain’t got sense enough to find nothing to eat.’ ‘I’d find things, George. I don’t need no nice food with ketchup.’…George looked quickly and searchingly at him. ‘I been mean, ain’t I?’ (Of Mice and Men, p. 11-12). At first, it seems George regretfully carries the burden of taking care of Lennie, but, when studied further, George sees Lennie more of as a friend instead of a burden. In this quotation, George displays his friendship when he acknowledges his harshness after he yells at Lennie. George’s friendship with Lennie also becomes evident at the end of the novella where Georges execution of Lennie demonstrates an act of kindness on behalf of their friendship. George, instead of letting Curley give him a long, painful death, gives Lennie a short and painless one. Additionally, the theme of friendship also affects Lennie when he recites part of George and his dream of owning a ranch: “But not us! An’ why?

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