Before of their future. They dream to have

Before the Great Depression, the American dream was about freedom. On a social level, it was a new beginning or a new life. In John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men,” he challenges this ideal, making the reader question if America is living up to it. Steinbeck explores three core motifs; The American Dream, Discrimination and Loneliness. He suggests the dream may in fact be a false hope when looked at through the context of the discrimination and loneliness experienced by migrant workers of the era. A strong central motif in Of Mice and Men is the American Dream. Steinbeck uses this motif to propel his novel further, giving George and Lennie good prospects of their future. They dream to have their own land, where they can grow crops and live in freedom. George and Lennie pushed towards this goal, although it was unrealistic. “‘O.K. Someday–we’re gonna get the jack together and we’re gonna have a little house and a couple of acres an’ a cow and some pigs and—‘ ‘An’ live off the fatta of the lan’,’ Lennie shouted. ‘An, have rabbits. Go on, George! Tell about what we’re gonna have in the garden and about the rabbits. Go on, George!'” (Steinbeck 14). George and Lennie may never achieve this dream, but the dream kept their wonderful friendship together. The dream kept Lennie happy, and prevented him from doing bad things, while it also kept George from becoming hopeless. Towards the end of the novel, Lennie kills Curley’s wife, and the dream is over. George knew he would have to kill Lennie, as the alternative would have been worse. George gives up on the dream, resigning himself to the fact he would forever be lonely. The dream gave George and Lennie life, even if life kept them from accomplishing their dreams. Many characters in Of Mice and Men face discrimination for different reasons. The black stable buck, Crooks is prejudiced because of the color of his skin. Crooks sleeps apart from all of the other ranch hands in a barn with animals, he is excluded activities, and the ranch men say that he stinks. “‘Cause I’m black. They play cards in there, but I can’t play cause I’m black. They say I stink. Well, I tell you, you all of you stink to me'” (Steinbeck 68). Crooks was treated like he was nothing, as if he was invisible. All of these factors make Crooks feel isolated and lonely like many other characters from the story.  Of Mice and Men also portrays women in an unflattering way. Curley’s wife is discriminated based on her gender. When she wants to talk to people, she gets turned down in fear of the ranch men creating trouble. She also is not even allowed to talk to anyone without being called a “flirt” or other sexist names. “‘I seen ’em poison before, but I never seen no piece of jail bait worse than her'” (Steinbeck 32). The result of her being discriminated leaves her feeling lonely and at fault for her own death. Candy, the older ranch hand, is discriminated against in two ways; ableism and ageism. He knows he will soon be rejected due to the fact he is not as useful as the other men. “‘They’ll can me purty soon. Jus’ as soon as I can’t swamp out no bunkhouses they’ll put me on the county'” (Steinbeck 60). Candy’s dog was no longer useful so she was shot, and Candy feels the same thing may happen to him, leaving him feeling useless and overpowered.The discrimination and isolation the characters face ultimately lead to the feeling of desperation and loneliness. Curley’s wife, is married to a controlling, jealous type of man. She explores the ranch seeking human contact, flirting with the ranch hands due to her loneliness. She asks Lennie, “‘Why can’t I talk to you? I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely'” (Steinbeck 86). Curley’s wife is desperately lonely until she finds herself spending time with Lennie. Sadly, she teased Lennie about her hair and Lennie accidentally broke her neck. Curley’s wife’s loneliness costs her her own life. Aside from being discriminated, Crook’s also shows several signs of loneliness. He has been alone for so long, he does not even consider making a friend. When Lennie is attempting to have conversation with him, Crooks says “‘You got no right to come in my room. This here’s my room. Nobody got any right in here but me'” (Steinbeck 68). Because he is black, he is an automatic outcast from the other ranch hands. He has no dreams of his own, and he often disheartens George and Lennie’s dream.