A Purpose in Life: of Mice and Men, America and I, American Progress


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Many societies have a common pattern in everyday life: people who have goals find ways to achieve them. Unfortunately, money, social status, and countless other factors halt the plans of several. Despite the negative flow of events, the ambitious people among all choose to believe in their dreams. Such people prefer that over giving up hope because they want a purpose to live. The desire to achieve drives many to believe in themselves, and work towards their goals despite the hardships.

Hope often keeps a person positive in their life, even if everyone around is pessimistic. In the novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, George and Lennie express this positivity despite their poor lifestyle. During the Great Depression, earning and making a living appeared impossible for many people. Despite that, and a slim chance that their plans come true, George describes their future in great detail. Lennie also expresses his strong belief by repeatedly conversing about his future with George. The two discuss about owning a farm, with a food supply and a place to stay (Steinbeck 56-58). Steinbeck expresses their confident attitude to an extent like they are rich beings. This attitude helps not only George and Lennie, but people in the real world to stay calm and raise their self-confidence. George and Lennie know that they earn fifty dollars a month. Hence, they let Candy join in on their plan to arrange all the money needed (Steinbeck 60). Likewise, this attitude also motivates people to initiate a plan and find solutions to their problems. A person without hope seldom has an intention to deal with their difficulties, whereas a person who does tends to solve them. Choosing to believe in likely unattainable dreams is a beneficial mindset to hold.

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The process of believing in one thing after another is a common nature in society. Some do it because they like to believe in many ideas, but ones hungry for success need something to believe in. In the short story America and I by Anzia Yezierska, the author initially thinks of America as a nation where she will find success. Unluckily, she struggles to find a job and make a living (Yezierska 70). It is common for hurdles to come between people and their aspirations, causing them to give up on some of them. However, many immediately find new goals. Yezierska displays a similar solution to her problem. Having no vision of a successful life, she chooses to believe in the result of the American Dream (Yezierska 74). What determined people believe in changes due to restrictions, because that belief supports a reason to continue living. It helps people to have that reason because it gives them a sense of importance in society.

Dreamers save their visions for the future, even if they are not achievable at present. When the plans become possible in the future, they will come into existence; their dreams will be achieved more easily, step by step. The painting American Progress by John Gast visualizes the future expansion of American achievements: how technology will help transform the uncivilized regions. Using the color of the sky, Gast conveys that the Americans will bring their inventions to transform the unexplored lands. If the communities facing hardships are similarly revolutionized, then the plans of dreamers will fall into action and help them succeed in life.

Having a vision is more beneficial to a person than not having one to believe in. It is the key difference between a happy, successful being and a discouraged one without a reason to live and enjoy life.

Works Cited

  • Gast, John. American Progress. 1872, Autry Museum of the American West, Los Angeles.
  • Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. Penguin, 1986.
  • Yezierska, Anzia. America and I. Short Stories About The American Dream. Short Story Guide. N.p., n.d. Accessed 11 Dec. 2016.

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