Dreams and Of Mice and Men Do Now: Brainstorm! Think about your own dreams and how you’re going to achieve them! Themes in Of Mice and Men -The American Dream The American Dream: Everyone has a dream to strive for. The poor ranch hands wish to be their own bosses (independence), and actually have stability (a home) in their lives. What is the American Dream The term was first used by James Truslow Adams in 1931. He states: "The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to achieve the fullest stature of which they are capable of, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the circumstances of birth or position." Think about the following: Is the American dream possible in the historical context of the novel? Historical Context to Consider The Dust Bowl The Great Depression Migrant farmers Extreme poverty Lack of connection with fellow human beings Lack of understanding (empathy) of the disabled Dehumanization (how the workers are made to feel less human) Dream #1: The Farm Dream George and Lennie "'Well,' said George, 'we'll have a big vegetable patch and a rabbit hutch and chickens. And when it rains in the winter, we'll just say the hell with goin' to work, and we'll build up a fire in the stove and set around it an' listen to the rain comin' down on the roof...'" Interpreting George and Lennie’s Dream Their perfect world is one of independence. Workers like Lennie and George have no family, no home, and very little control over their lives. They have to do what the boss tells them and they have little to show for it. They only own what they can carry. Therefore, this idea of having such power over their lives is a strong motivation. Loneliness and George and Lennie’s Dream George and Lennie have a dream, even before they arrive at their new job on the ranch, to make enough money to live "off the fat of the land" and be their own bosses. Lennie will be permitted, then, to tend the rabbits. Candy, upon hearing about the dream, wants to join them so that he won’t not be left alone. Crooks, the African American outcast, wants to join them so that he wouldn't be alone. Dream #2: Leaving a Permanent Mark on the World When Whit (one of the ranch hands) brings in the magazine with the letter written by Bill Tenner, a man who used to work on the ranch, the men are all very impressed. ◦ They are not certain that Bill wrote the letter, but Whit is convinced he did, and tries to convince the others. Because the ranch hands live a lifestyle where they travel all the time and have no real home, it is rare for them to leave any kind of permanent mark on the world. In this letter Bill Tenner has achieved some of the immortality (living forever, being remembered) that the other men cannot imagine for themselves. Dream #3: Returning to a Time of Childhood Innocence Childhood symbolizes: ◦ Innocence ◦ Freedom ◦ Play ◦ Simplicity ◦ Imagination ◦ A better world/time ◦ Unlimited possibility Dream #3: Returning to a Time of Childhood Innocence When George talks about their farm, he twice describes it in terms of things he loved in childhood: "I could build a smoke house like the one gran'pa had..." Chapter 3, pg. 57. George yearns for his future to reflect the beauty of his childhood. "An' we'd keep a few pigeons to go flyin' around the win'mill like they done when I was a kid." Dream #3: Returning to a Time of Childhood Innocence The ideal world presented by Crooks also reflects childhood. His father had a chicken ranch full of white chickens, a berry patch, and alfalfa. He and his brothers would sit and watch the chickens. In this world, he had friends and family, and was not alone. He was also not disabled. Dream #4 Curley’s Wife Curley's wife has a dream that although different in detail from the other's dreams, is still very similar in its general desires. She wants companionship so much that she will try to talk to people who don't want to talk to her, like all the men on the ranch. Unsatisfied by her surly husband, she constantly lurks around the barn, trying to engage the workers in conversation. Curley’s Wife’s Dream Part II The second part of her dream is similar to the men's desire for their own land. She wanted to be an actress in Hollywood. She imagines how great it would be to stay in nice hotels, own lots of beautiful clothes, and have people want to take her photograph. Both attention and financial security would have been hers. Like the men she desires friendship, and also material comforts, though the specifics of her dream differ from theirs. The Death of the Dream When George tells Lennie to look across the river and imagine their farm, he lets Lennie die with the hope that they will attain their dream, and attain it soon. George, who must kill Lennie, is not allowed such comfort. He must go on living knowing the failure of their dream, as well as deal with the guilt of having killed his best friend. The Death of the Dream Steinbeck used George and Lennie’s dream as a symbol of the American Dream So, because George and Lennie’s dream dies with Lennie, Steinbeck is saying that the American Dream is dead. Dreams Review Dreams are one of the ways in which the characters combat the loneliness and hopelessness of their existence. The most obvious example is the dream farm, a dream shared at first only by George and Lennie, but which later spreads to include Candy and Crooks. Crooks reveals that it is the favourite dream of the ranch hands: 'Seems like ever' guy got land in his head.' It is a powerful dream, however, and even the cynical Crooks falls under its spell for a short time. To Lennie, the dream is an antidote to disappointment and loneliness, and he often asks George to recite the description of the farm to him. Curley's wife is another who has dreams, her fantasies of a part in the movies and a life of luxury. Part of her dissatisfaction with her life is that it can never measure up to her dreams. Significantly, none of the characters ever achieve their dreams. Writing A Dream Paper Brainstorming Ideas 1. The first thing you need to decide is who you want to write about: ◦ George ◦ Lennie ◦ Curley’s Wife 2. Next, you need to decide what that person’s dream was! 1. Did this person achieve his/her dream? Why or why not? General 1st: Topic Sentence/Hook A general discussion of the paper’s topic-this could be anywhere from 1-3 sentences, but don’t ramble 2nd: TAG Explain how the text, using the TAG, relates to the topic-this could be anywhere from 1-3 sentences As we move from top to bottom, information goes from general to specific Specific 3rd: Thesis Remember to transition between sentences throughout your paper (and your introduction) Writing a Good Introduction Topic Sentence/HOOK Remember, the topic of ALL of our papers is DREAMS Creating that Topic Sentence or HOOK ◦ Let’s look at the HOOK handout…which hooks would be appropriate for this type of essay? Writing a Good Introduction TAG Statement TAG means •Title •Author •Genre You want your TAG to link to your topic! Example: In Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, Steinbeck discusses the power of dreams. Writing a Good Introduction Thesis What is a Thesis Statement? ◦ A thesis statement is a claim or a central argument that you prove throughout your paper ◦ A thesis statement provides your reader with a guide to your paper (or, what you will prove) ◦ A thesis statement is strong when: ◦ it takes a stand ◦ expresses one main idea ◦ is specific ◦ A thesis is strongest when it begins with the words While or Because or Although (setting up an argument) Writing a Good Introduction Thesis Some sample thesis statements-how could you change these to make your own thesis statement? Remember, you need to believe in your thesis! ◦ Lennie example: Because Lennie dies still believing in the dream, he achieves his dream through the freedom of death. ◦ George example: While George does believe in the dream, because the dream relies on companionship, his dream ends when he is forced to kill Lennie. ◦ Curley’s Wife example: Although Curley’s wife’s death should be the end of her dream, her dream truly ended when she married Curley . A Good, Basic Paragraph For a Thematic Essay 1-2: Topic Sentence ◦ What you will prove in the paragraph 1-2: Example from the text ◦ Should be specific and detailed ◦ Avoid Plot Summary! 1-2: Quote from the text ◦ Should illuminate the example ◦ Should prove (through text) how the example is accurate 2-3: ANALYSIS ◦ Proves how the information provided relates back to and proves the thesis ◦ Avoid Plot Summary! A Good, Basic Paragraph For a Thematic Essay 1-2: Topic Sentence ◦ What you will prove in the paragraph This does not mean that you write, I will prove that George’s dream dies as a result of Lennie’s death. • Never say “I” in an essay • Never say “I will prove” or “I will show” or “I think that”…just write the part that comes after that statement. • George’s dream dies as a result of Lennie’s death is an excellent topic sentence! A Good, Basic Paragraph For a Thematic Essay 1-2: Example from the text ◦ Should be specific and detailed ◦ Avoid Plot Summary! This does not mean that you rewrite the whole book. Basically, you are giving a quick example in order to set up your quote. • Using our example: George’s dream dies as a result of Lennie’s death. • Example: George and Lenne’s dream was about companionship. When George is forced to kill Lennie so that Curley does not kill Lennie in a painful way, George’s dream dies. A Good, Basic Paragraph For a Thematic Essay 1-2: Quote from the text ◦ Should illuminate the example ◦ Should prove (through text) how the example is accurate • Using our example: George’s dream dies as a result of Lennie’s death. • George and Lenne’s dream was about companionship. When George is forced to kill Lennie so that Curley does not kill Lennie in a painful way, George’s dream dies. • Example: George says, “With us it ain’t like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us…If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us” (Steinbeck 14). Evidence and MLA Evidence in the form of a quote (or citation) needs to be properly MLA cited. That means you need to use punctuation, quote marks and a parenthetical citation which provides the author’s name and the page number of the evidence. It sounds confusing, but it’s actually very easy! 1. The page of the citation is always at the end of the sentence, followed by a period. 2. The punctuation only goes after the citation-it does NOT go inside of the quote. ◦ Good example: “A few miles south of Soledad, the Salinas River drops in close to the hillside” (Steinbeck 1). 3. The only punctuation which goes inside of the quotation is a question mark or an exclamation point 4. Confused? Seek outside help! Owl at Purdue University Evidence and MLA ◦ Good example: “A few miles south of Soledad, the Salinas River drops in close to the hillside” (Steinbeck 1). Start the evidence with an open quote After the closed quote, hit space, open parentheses, author’s last name (capitalized), no comma, the page number, closed parentheses, then period. Period at the end of the sentence. End the evidence with a closed quote There should be NO punctuation here! No period, no comma, NOTHING! Summary v. Summary restates facts or events without deviating from the original source ◦ Summary can include inferences made about plot ◦ Summary is not analytical because it communicates a general, uniform understanding Analysis Analysis is the detailed explanation of relationships and processes ◦ This can be called interpretation of technique ◦ The explanation is focused and specific ◦ Addresses not only what something means or represents, but also how the author communicated an effect, understanding, or observation Summary v. Analysis First: In three sentences, summarize the Cinderella fairy tale Now, in three sentences, analyze and interpret an aspect of the Cinderella fairy tale Summary example ◦ Cinderella has two stepsisters and one stepmother, all of whom forbid her from living in the upper-class lifestyle that they enjoy. When the prince holds a ball in order to find his future bride, Cinderella can only attend with the help of her fairy godmother, but she must leave the ball at midnight without even telling her name to her new love, the prince. However, the prince finds and weds Cinderella because the glass slipper that she left at the ball fits her foot. Your analysis does not need to be this detailed! It’s a student example from a few years ago. Analysis Example: ◦ Cinderella’s plight stems from the competition among women: the principal theme of the story is marriage, and the principal conflicts are those among women who wish to use marriage to gain money and social standing. While Cinderella is an innocent girl who does nothing wrong, her stepmother and stepsisters are punished because they torture Cinderella and claim that they are more eligible for the ball, which is essentially the marriage market. Therefore, Cinderella is rewarded because she refuses to compete with the other women: she is moral while they are not. Try these simple analysis tips! A-level analysis: ◦ The writer thinks critically/digs deeper into the meaning of the passage and connects that meaning to the thesis The writer asks himself: ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ What is the author’s purpose? Why is this example important? What is the author really trying to say? So? …And then the writer answers these questions… A Good, Basic Paragraph For a Thematic Essay 2-3: ANALYSIS ◦ Proves how the information provided relates back to and proves the thesis (thesis: While George does believe in the dream, because the dream relies on companionship, his dream ends when he is forced to kill Lennie.) ◦ Avoid Plot Summary! • Using our example: George’s dream dies as a result of Lennie’s death. George and Lennie’s dream was about companionship. When George is forced to kill Lennie so that Curley does not kill Lennie in a painful way, George’s dream dies. George says, “With us it ain’t like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us…If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us” (Steinbeck 14). • Example: The dream farm represents many things. It represents independence and freedom from an oppressive boss, a return to childhood and the American Dream. But, the most important part of the dream is that it is about companionship. Because Steinbeck forces George to kill Lennie, Steinbeck believes that that, in this period, the American Dream is impossible to achieve. Phrases To Avoid When analyzing your text, avoid the following phrases: ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ This quote means This quote shows This quote is important Another example As you can see Also avoid saying “In Conclusion” in your conclusion…I know it’s your conclusion! Whatever would come after that phrase, keep! But delete the phrase! Proof-read! Some proof-reading tricks of the trade: ◦ Take some time off between drafting and proofreading. Your eyes know what should be there, rather than what is there. ◦ Read the draft aloud, either to yourself or to a group of people. ◦ What sounds funny? ◦ Is there any place where you trip over your own words? ◦ Make corrections! Nothing is ever perfect!