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United States to Face the Great Obstacle of Space Exploration and Eventually Surpass the Soviet Union

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Motivate or Destroy

Everyone knows life can be very difficult, challenging, and full of obstacles. Most importantly, it is dreams and aspirations that motivate people to keep on living. Dreams can be the stars in a dark sky or light in the dark. But, dreams can also be the dark waters people are drowning under and eventually ruin their lives. “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck, shows how dreams can both motivate and destroy people. Steinbeck exposes both positive and negative effects of dreams through the use of his characters, George, Lennie, and Curley’s wife. In President John F. Kennedy’s “We Choose to Go to the Moon” speech, he inspires the United States to face the great obstacle of space exploration and eventually surpass the Soviet Union. Dreams and aspirations can destroy, but they ultimately motivate people to keep on living.

To begin with, John Steinbeck’s fictional novel, “Of Mice and Men” is set during the Great Depression in California. The worldwide economic depression is known as, the Great Depression, lasted from 1929 to 1939. “Following World War 1, a recession led to a drop in the market…” (Fanslow, 1998) Because of this recession, up to 15 million Americans were unemployed, causing economic migration. Impoverished Americans were forced to migrate in order to survive this depression. According to Fanslow in “The Migrant Experience,” The Great Depression caused “displaced agricultural workers to find other work…” (Fanslow, 1998) However, these migrant workers “were met with frustration due to a 30 percent unemployment rate.” (Fanslow, 1998) These migrants had no choice but to pack up their things and find agricultural work elsewhere. Most of these migrants headed to California because of the pleasant weather and vast agriculture. During these harsh times, people barely survived the starvation and had scarce money to support themselves and their families. George and Lennie in “Of Mice and Men” were one of these migrant workers during The Great Depression. These two best friends traveled from ranch to ranch looking for work, hoping they could earn enough money to buy their own ranch. The only thing George and Lennie had to keep them living was their dream that kept them motivated and hopeful.

First and foremost, George and Lennie’s dream was to have their own ranch to live on. George tells Lennie, “O.K. Someday-we’re gonna get the jack together and we’re gonna have a little house and a couple acres an’ a cow and some pigs…” (Steinbeck, 13) Lennie excitedly finishes the sentence saying, “An’ live off the fatta the lan’… An’ have rabbits” (Steinbeck, 13) Together, George and Lennie imagined a romantic Eden for themselves where they hoped to live one day. This dream is what motivated them to keep on working and living, therefore having a positive effect. Throughout the entire novel, Lennie is shown to have an obsession with rabbits because their soft fur soothes and comforts Lennie. According to the article “Loneliness and Dreams and ‘Of Mice and Men’,” “Lennie’s main desire is to tend to the soft-haired rabbits they will keep.” (BBC Bitesize, 2014) This shows how Lennie’s obsession with rabbits connects to the dream ranch he and George share. The article also gives an insight into George’s perspective of the dream, “He is so set on the idea he even knows some of the land he thinks they could buy.” (BBC Bitesize, 2014) George so inspired by the idea of owning land, he already knows what properties he can buy. Even though their focuses are a little different, the dream they share inspires them thus, having a positive effect on their lives. Lennie and George’s dream motivates them to keep on working on the ranch in order to have enough money to buy their own. Talk more about the dream and its positive effects

In addition, the ranch that George and Lennie are working on is owned by a man who has a pugnacious son named Curley. Curley had a very beautiful wife who remains unnamed in the novel. Steinbeck describes this young woman as having, “full, rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made up. Her fingernails were red.” (Steinbeck, 31) Just like all the other characters on the ranch, Curley’s wife also had a dream. According to “Loneliness and Dreams in ‘Of Mice and Men’,” “She dreams of being a movie star. Her hopes were raised by a man who claimed would take her to Hollywood but when she didn’t receive a letter from him, she married Curley.” (BBC Bitesize, 2014) Curley’s wife had dreams of becoming very famous and starring in movies. This dream also motivated her and gave her hope. She states, “Coulda been in the movies, an’ had nice clothes- all them clothes like they wear.” (Steinbeck, 89) However, this dream had a negative impact on her life. Because her dream was never accomplished, Curley’s wife lived a life full of regret and loneliness. The letter the man had promised had never arrived. Curley’s wife blames her mother for taking the letter. Because she has remorse and anger towards her mother, Curley’s wife’s dream had negatively affected her relationship with her mother. She ends up living in regret and remorse and marrying a man she does not love. She is very lonely and doesn’t have a motivation any more. Not only was her dream out of reach, but it eventually had a great negative impact on her life. Talk more about the dream and its negative effects- answer prompt questions

In 1962, John Steinbeck, the author of the novel “Of Mice and Men,” was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. This same year, President John F. Kennedy “delivered a stirring speech to 40,000 sweaty spectators at the football stadium at Rice University in humid Houston, a speech that would come to be one of the defining moments of his abbreviated presidency,” according to the article, “Kennedy’s ‘Moon’ Speech Still Stirs.” (Podelco, 2012) President John F. Kennedy gave the famous “We Choose to Go to the Moon” speech on September 12, 1962 hoping to inspire the United States to excel in space technology and exploration. President Kennedy refused to fall behind to the Soviet Union after their successful launch of the space satellite, Sputnik. Similar to Lennie and George, President John F. Kennedy also had a dream, but on a much grander scale. He dreamed that the U.S would become, “the world’s leading spacefaring nation.” (Kennedy, 1962) Kennedy was determined to lead the U.S to accomplish their dream, once he heard the news about the Soviet Union’s triumphant launch of Sputnik. “The U.S was rapidly losing the race into space, and in turn a competition in technological supremacy to its Cold War adversary,” states Cody Knipfer in “John F. Kennedy’s ‘We Go to the Moon’ Speech- An Analysis.” (Knipfer, 2015) Kennedy refused to lose the space race, so he sought out to motivate the United States to work harder in order to further explore space. This dream motivated the U.S to work faster and therefore, had a positive effect on them.

Ultimately, Kennedy’s dream of being ahead of the Soviet Union in space exploration did come true. This speech is powerful and impactful since it still resonates over fifty years later. In an article by Grant Podelco, he writes, “Fifty years later, that iconic speech- in which Kennedy called for America to put a man on the moon by the end of that decade- is being commemorated by the U.S space agency NASA…” (Podelco, 2012) Grant Podelco also writes about Neil Armstrong and his relations to President Kennedy’s speech in the article, “Kennedy’s Famous ‘Moon’ Speech Still Stirs.” He states, “As the late Neil Armstrong- the first human to set foot on the moon- recently noted, ‘The first statement we made was, ‘The Eagle has landed; Tranquility Base here, The Eagle has landed.’ That was the signature line for achieving the presidential goal we had been working for a decade on.’ ” (Podelco, 2012) President Kennedy’s speech greatly impacted and influenced space exploration at the time. This dream that he envisioned eventually became a reality. He and his speech are now remembered as a very successful and influential in space and technology advancement. More warrant

To conclude, dreams are very powerful hopes that inspire and motivate others to keep on living. Dean Burnett states in his article, “Motivation and Aspiration: What’s the Point?” that “your aspirations can motivate you to work hard and get things done to achieve this goal…” (Burnett, 2013) This shows that dreams can motivate people to accomplish and work towards their aspirations and goals, thus having a positive effect on their lives. As shown in John Steinbeck’s fictional novel, “Of Mice and Men,” dreams can motivate, but they can also destroy people, like George and Lennie or Curley’s wife. President Kennedy’s “We Choose to Go to the Moon” speech shows how dreams can unite an entire country with a common goal and ultimately achieve it. Dreams can destroy people’s lives, but it is their aspirations that motivate and keep them alive.

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