Study Guide

Of Mice and Men Visions of America

By John Steinbeck

Visions of America

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Of Mice and Men's America is filled with dreamers and strugglers, who all have a different idea of what life should be: Hollywood, a quiet ranch, the pages of a pulp magazine. What all these visions have in common in their absolute impossibility. The wanna-be starlet never will be; the quiet ranch is just a bedtime story; the magazine is just peddling advertisements. Does the novel suggest that there's no such thing as the American dream? Or does that real America of hope and possibility exist somewhere just over the horizon?

Questions About Visions of America

  1. In Of Mice and Men, is America the land of futility or opportunity? Are dreams ever realizable? If so, for whom? For anyone, or only for particular people?
  2. Could this be a story about making it in a tough agricultural migrant town anywhere? Is it a universal story still relevant today, or is it particularly keyed to issues of the Great Depression
  3. Is struggle and overcoming obstacles part of the American story?
  4. Is it possible to achieve the American Dream without struggling? Or is struggle a necessary element of the American Dream?

Chew on This

George and Lennie's dream is the quintessential American Dream of independence and freedom: their dream could be anyone's.

This novel argues that there is no single America. Rather, there are many different groups (women, black people, farm workers), each with its own unique struggle.