Dependency: Of Mice and Men and Hansberry Essay

Submitted By Emilyschramm18
Words: 1013
Pages: 5

The Ruinous Dilemma Called Dependency
The ruinous dilemma called dependency is an interchangeable ideal that coexists between John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. Both of these pieces portray immensely similar rhetorical strategies and themes. Debunking the popular beliefs that Of Mice and Men and A Raisin in the Sun endorse close relationships, textual evidence points the other way. Through the failure of main characters, the reader can infer the authors suggest that characters should isolate themselves in order to have a shot at their dreams coming true. If characters confide in friends and family, then the dependency created from them will induce failure, whether it be in Steinbeck or Hansberry’s pieces, or in modern day society.
This concept that dependency is detrimental to success is reinforced in the Encyclopedia of Sociology, affirming that the tendency to rely on others can offset “helplessness, . . . as well as the failure to meet cultural expectations and standards” (Mikulincer). The cultural expectations mentioned can be equated with the harsh reality of achieving the American Dream in these pieces and the world today. Characters in Of Mice and Men face this harsh reality by putting trust into friends. In the beginning, George realizes his dependency on friendship and decides to rant about it: “God a'mighty, if I was alone I could live so easy. I could go get a job an' work, an' no trouble” (Steinbeck). The vernacular diction in this statement emphasises the realism Steinbeck using, further exemplifying how his themes of isolation apply to the real world. In addition, the rhetorical strategy of foreshadowing is put forth and this manifests how Steinbeck is in favor of reclusion. Foreshadowing is present in George’s statement because he eventually ends up alone in the last scene like he had wished for in the beginning. Steinbeck wanted to portray that forming relationships will be detrimental to reaching personal goals. Nevertheless, this problem is bigger than just George and Lennie; isolation is not uncommon in their society. The all-knowing God-like figure himself confirmed this: "Ain't many guys travel around together," Slim mused. "I don't know why. Maybe ever'body in the whole damn world is scared of each other" (Steinbeck). In this quote Slim admits that George and Lennie travelling together is unusual, and this is foreshadowing in itself. The audience can make the assumption and take note that Steinbeck, once again, finds staying secluded and being skeptical of others the best method to protecting any chance of achieving the American Dream.
A second error of trust can be found in Walter’s decision to trust his friend Willy too much with handling the money that wasn't his own. In turn, the Younger family trusted Walter with the money and this turned out to backfire on them, leaving no chance for anyones dreams. The audience could have seen this coming from the foreshadowing employed by Hansberry with the plant. The plant represents the family’s struggles together and how it isn't growing because they negatively impact each other. Through this, Hansberry linked the common ideal with Steinbeck that it’s important to take the matter into your own hands; you can't trust others to make your own dreams come true. Even Asagi realizes this when he criticized, “Then isn’t there something wrong in a house – in a world – where all dreams, good or bad, must depend on the death of a man? I never thought to see you like this, Alaiyo. You!” (Hansberry). He urged Beneatha to be independent instead of being reliant on someone else or her family. This model Hansberry presented is an influence to the audience to take Asagi’s words and use them to become more self-sufficient.
Subsequently, the benefit of not receiving doubt by family and friends is gained with isolation. In both pieces, hope is shattered by the pessimistic nature of the characters. This idea is augmented in the