Dark sides of the American Dream

John Ernest Steinbeck entered the American literary scene when a alteration of scenery took topographic point and many of traditional faces and characters had to go forth the footlights. The limelights turned on the new faces. The USA finished the First War as a victor, but it did non intend an limitless economical success. The American Dream was merely an semblance in many ways. A great economic and fiscal crisis and subsequent depression paralyzed the state. John Steinbeck was a informant and a participant in all these events.

In his early novels the author shows the money- centred society, the unsighted aspiration to have for its ain interest moved the basic human values to the fringe of the society. Steinbeck was non the first but one of the best to detect, describe and onslaught these dark sides of the American world. Talking about early plants I mean the plants created until the beginning of the WW II, including “ The Grapes of Wrath ” .

In his firs novel “ Cup of Gold ” ( 1929 ) he tried to work out the contradiction between the human dream and the unsmooth world. He is covering with societal and psychological jobs near to his coevalss. Steinbeck was interested in the thought of the strong individual, who fights against the fortunes and headers with the obstructions. The American critics have found in Morgan, the chief character, an incarnation of the thoughts of the “ lost coevals ” and later will compare him with Fitzgerald ‘s Getsby. Steinbeck was non satisfied with his first novel. He wrote that it performed on him a purifying consequence and turned out to be his readying for more valuable plants. The writer redirected his attending on the lives of the ordinary people as a contemplation of the complicated societal construction of America.

At the terminal of 1929 Steinbeck finished his 2nd novel “ To a God Unknown ” edited in 1933 in which California proves itself as the author s preferred part, as a beginning of most of his topics. The vale of Salinas and the Pacific seashore were non merely a background in his books, but a curious status of human spirit, an environment on which the adult male undertakings himself as a complicated combination of contradictions. The chief character in the novel is Josef Wayne, a husbandman, who became a victim of the nature forces which he was seeking to take under control. Possessed by the maniacal thought to safe the birthrate of the dirt, he committed unusual rites and he was ready to offer a forfeit to a god unknown. The writer himself evaluates his act as a great gallantry. In his work we may acknowledge the distinctive features of his existent style- symbolism, extraordinariness of his character, the pantheistic attitude to the nature, rhetoric and decorativeness.

His first formal experiment was the fresh “ The Pastures of Heaven ” . It consists of several separate narratives with a common subject and scene and taken together they compose the narrative of the colorful vale. In this little idyllic universe unrecorded 20 households. They are ordinary, friendly and charitable people, some of them a small unusual and bizarre. Steinbeck ‘s ain basic attitude is a amusing withdrawal which allowed him to mix the societal concern with amiable laughter at the irresponsibleness of paisanos. But this stray universe was destroyed by the visual aspect of the household of new colonists. The new dwellers are losing humanity and affection. The writer reveals all the horror, upset, narrow-mindedness and futility of the modern American society. The novel became a sort of programme attesting his strong involvement in societal jobs. The critics defined the narrative and the characters as crude, but the author s crudeness is taken from the existent life.

In 1935 the novel “ Tortilla Flat ” was published. As a genre it is something assorted between romantic idyll and amusing epos, depicting the life of a little brotherhood of hapless and unworried paisanos. They follow their ain moral codification and reject the values of the heartless anti-intellectual society. The adult male thought of the writer is that the wealth and the belongings are immoralities ‘ , destructing the psyche of the natural adult male. The terminal of the narrative is tragic – Danny – the chief character died, the two houses that he inherited burn down, the brotherhood falls apart. The concluding phrase shows the impossibleness to continue the friendly relationship, the fidelity and the honestness in a society of carthly- minded people. “ Tortilla Flat ” reveals Steinbeck as a gifted storyteller and humourist, who masterly uses amusing state of affairss to handle serious jobs.

In 1934 he became a informant to tragic events. In Salinal started a work stoppage of the apple-pickers which turned to a barbarous conflict. The author was horrified. Bing an honest adult male, he could non maintain silence and dedicated his following work to these events. The name of the novel is “ In a Doubtful Battle ” ( 1936 ) – an look taken from Milton s Lost Paradise. His characters are victims of the societal unfairness. The writer ‘s place is instead similar to this of physician Berton – one of his chief characters. He sympathises the workers, but remains an perceiver, who tries to narrate objectively. Steinbeck explains the societal jobs with the imperfectness of the human nature. Here his positions of the group may be felt. He was influenced by the constructs of his friend, the life scientist Edwerd Rickest. Harmonizing to him the large human communities are non merely a amount of the separate persons, but a sort of existences with their ain corporate memory, psychological science and behavior, that can non be understood. His thought is to comprehend the varying world as something granted without seeking for the grounds and Torahs of the happenings. In the universe of nature there can non be guilty existences. The author could non happen the solution of an ethical paradox-in human society those who possess virtuousnesss like goodness, honestness and generousness ever parish. The group theory and the thought in facts are non ruling in his plants.

In 1937 was published a short novel “ Of Mice and Men ” . It is written with oculus to both phase and film version. His survey of the friendly relationship of the unusual Lennie and his faithful George is credible as a disclosure of warped personality at the same clip that it is symbolic of adult male s ageless yearning to return to the land. The author was interested in the carnal motive underlying the human behavior, and with its assistance he created the universe of unreality, with which he could countervail that of the ugly universe he knew. He was at his best when he succeeded in keeping a contra punctual interplay between these two universes by the usage of the larger symbolism.

“ The Grapes of Wrath ” ( 1939 ) combines the most of import and meaningful characters and thoughts of his earlier plants, but as a quality is something instead higher. The main narrative describes the tragic destinies of three coevalss of the Joad household, expropriated Oklahoma husbandmans from the dust bowl part who set out for California in an old truck. There are two sorts of grounds doing Joad ‘s tragedy-forces of nature and economical Torahs. They are represented in the novel by two symbols -monsters – the bank and the tractor. They destroyed the universe of the farmers-owners striping them of the most precious – the love and the fond regard to the land. Joad ‘s calamity must be treated non merely in societal facet. It has a great psychological significance every bit good. It is a sudden and barbarous alteration of the human psyche.Losing their land they become foreigners – people without future and assurance. Their lone hope is the route. The thought of motion is widely used in the American literature to typify the last opportunity, the new possibilities. Puting his characters on the federal route 66 Steinbeck creates a generalised image of the human watercourse.The singular invention of Steinbeck is the combination of two degrees – a generalised symbolic degree and an person, specific concrete degree. “ The Grapes of Wrath ” became a esthesis in literature and society of America. The serious critics evaluated the novel as a singular phenomenon, but it provoked a watercourse of defenses of reactionist portion of society as good.

Get downing from “ Cannery Row ” the writer redirects his attending to “ the single head and spirit of a adult male ” ( Eden, p.152 ) saying that human creativeness is something like a moral force in the bad universe. “ The group ne’er invents anything ” ( Eden, p.160 ) so single going from the group is an absolute necessity for a adult male to make his or her ain thing. In Steinbeck ‘s later works the group is the society itself and the single look means to be separated to defy the acquisition of power, the aspiration to have for its ain interest, the Dark side of the American Dream. This construct is rather different from the traditional American individuality. In “ Cannery Row ” Steinbeck recreates the genuinely poetic universe of his young person into a metaphor for a particular and possibly the best sort of America, for the head, the esthesia, the spirit of the American psyche. Although this universe had gone, it touches that better portion of the American consciousness that is in odds with lotteries, the game shows and cutthroat concern patterns. The dwellers of the street are non merely amusing bizarre figures of the past but the writer s call and willingness to prefer passionate enjoyment to aggressive aspiration.

Harmonizing to Steinbeck the large human communities are non a amount of separate persons but a sort of existences with their ain corporate memory, psychological science and behavior.The onslaught on blind aspiration, on pursuit for money and power which ruin the human psyche and go a slippery downward incline run through the most Steinbeck ‘s plants.

Annotated Bibliography



The rhythm of American Literature Print.

Rizova, Mladenova, Modern English in American Literature a text edition for English Language School, 1980 Print

Steinbeck, J. Cannery Row. New York: Viking 1945. Print

Shillinglaw, S. Introduction Steinbeck, John Cannery Raw. New York. Pengouin, 1994. Print.

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