Hopes and Dreams Help People to Survive, Even if they Can Never Become Real

Categories: Dream

How is this true for George and Lennie/ the characters in 'Of Mice and Men'?

An important theme in 'Of Mice and Men' is that of hopes and dreams. The main dream is that of George and Lennie to own a smallholding and work self-sufficiently. Indeed the story both begins and ends with George narrating the dream to Lennie. As well as George and Lennie other characters such as Candy, Crooks, Curley and Curley's wife have dreams also. All of these hopes and dreams affect the way the characters behave throughout the novel.

The book is set during the American depression of the 1930s after the Wall Street Crash of 1929. During this period many Americans struggled to make ends meet. Many left their old lives in the cities of the East, such as Boston or New York, and travelled West to forge new lives for themselves based on agriculture, " An' live off the fatta the lan'." This became the 'American Dream,' this is the dream of George and Lennie.

Get quality help now
Doctor Jennifer
Doctor Jennifer
checked Verified writer

Proficient in: Dream

star star star star 5 (893)

“ Thank you so much for accepting my assignment the night before it was due. I look forward to working with you moving forward ”

avatar avatar avatar
+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

For George the dream serves two main roles. The first is that it makes him strive towards something, giving him ambition and a fantasy of betterment. This makes him a better person because he is careful with his money, doesn't go out drinking or to the brothel, but instead is careful of his responsibilities, "Me an' Lennie's rollin' up a stake, I might go in an' set and have a shot, but I ain't puttin' out no two and a half.

Get to Know The Price Estimate For Your Paper
Number of pages
Email Invalid email

By clicking “Check Writers’ Offers”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We’ll occasionally send you promo and account related email

"You must agree to out terms of services and privacy policy"
Write my paper

You won’t be charged yet!

" This allows him to cope with a life that he is dissatisfied with because he can use the dream to escape reality for a short while.

The second function of the dream for George is that it is an integral part of his friendship with Lennie. George uses the dream to control Lennie as he behaves himself and works hard looking forward to the realisation of the dream. It is important for George that he continues his friendship with Lennie partly for companionship and party for more selfish reasons that Lennie is able to protect George and makes him feel and seem more intelligent.

The dream is important to Lennie for similar reasons to why it is important to George. Primarily it keeps him on the straight and narrow, it makes him work hard, control his violent urges and obey George. He does this for fear of losing his role in the dream, "you ain't gonna get in no trouble, because if you do, I won't let you tend the rabbits." The dream is also beneficial to Lennie because it allows him to die peacefully. Not only are his final thoughts about tending the rabbits and living happily ever after but he is also spared imprisonment or hanging by George's devotion to the dream and hence Lennie.

The most important function of this dream is to keep them together. Despite George constantly saying "God a' mighty, if I was alone I could live so easy." he stays with Lennie because they have made this dream together and are both striving to make it real. Lennie knows that he must stay with George because if he left he would lose this dream.

George and Lennie's dream is so powerful it draws others in such as Candy and Crooks. Candy is described as, "grinning with delight" as George describes their new ranch together. This shows how little is needed to make him happy. Candy uses the dream to escape from his lonely and dull life where he feels worthless.

Even though he may know it will never become real it gives him, too, something to work for and some comfort, as he will then be looked after in his old age. The relationship between George and Lennie is mirrored in the relationship between Candy and his dog. Candy could not shoot his dog but got Carlson to do it for him. He soon regretted allowing this, "I ought to of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn't ought to of let no stranger shoot my dog." This prepares the reader for George shooting Lennie and shows that it was the right thing to do.

Crooks also gets caught up in the dream despite how much more cynical he is, "You guys is just kiddin' yourself. You'll talk about it a hell of a lot, but you wont get no land." This shows how powerful this particular dream is, how they have made it so real as even Crooks want to believe the dream can come true despite what he knows about the world. As the novel progresses the reader becomes more and more like Crooks and pessimistic about the dream ever becoming realised. The dream helps Crooks feel accepted by white men as he is now a part of their dream and included by them. It makes him too feel worthy of something. Crooks' role is to prepare the reader with his pessimism for the failure of the dream.

This dream helps all these four men in a positive way as it gives them all incentive to work harder, save money and not spend it all at the brothel, it helps build friendship and trust. However not all the dreams in 'Of Mice and Men' help people to survive in this way, Curley and Curley's wife's dreams influence their characters negatively.

Curley is a small man with a grudge against the world. He is very angry that he is small and so picks fights with those bigger than himself "He's alla time picking scraps with big guys." His own hope is that he can prove himself to be a big tough guy and get the respect of the other men, he tries to fulfil this with his boxing but still he is a laughing stock with the workers, as he cannot control his own wife.

Similarly, Curley's wife has an unobtainable dream of becoming a movie star. This is also for the respect of others particularly men. Curley's wife is very good at using her sexuality to control men and also uses her husband's status to control the workers. As she is unhappily married she uses her dreams as escapism that allows her to believe that she deserves and can get a better life than she has already. These dreams only serve to make Curley and his wife bitter.

The difference between George and Lennie's dream and Curley and his wife's separate dreams is the effect they have on the characters. Curley and his wife are worse people as they are so caught up in not achieving their dreams that they don't realise that they already have the dream life of many others. George and Lennie's dream makes them look forward to a better life and has a positive effect on their current lives.

Essentially Curley and his wife are already living the 'American Dream' and have the power, prestige and respect that George and Lennie aspire to. But still are unhappy and dream of having more themselves. Dreams are a product of dissatisfaction and this shows how mankind will always strive and dream for higher and better things no matter how much they have. In this theme Steinbeck is commenting that mankind is never satisfied and that dreams are an essential part of survival.

Steinbeck's use of colloquial language for the dialogue between the ranch workers for example "...an' I'd get a job an' make up the res', an' you could sell eggs an' stuff like that" to make the story seem more realistic and alive. It also gives us an idea of how they spoke and makes the book more enjoyable for the reader. Using a great deal of dialogue in the book makes it more interesting and easier to read.

Steinbeck uses light and darkness to focus the reader's attention throughout the novel. Such as in the third chapter, the bunkhouse is completely dark but when George and Slim enter, the electric light over the card table is switched on and the focus is then on the conversation at the card table as there is darkness all around. And even though there are voices from the darkness the reader's attention remains with Slim and George. Steinbeck does not use huge amounts of description however the way that he does describe the events is sufficient to make it seem as though you are actually there or allow you understand what it would be like. By saying "the thuds and occasional clangs of a horseshoe game" you can hear it in your mind and this helps the reader imagine the scene easily. In this way Steinbeck brings the characters dream to life.

Updated: Dec 21, 2020
Cite this page

Hopes and Dreams Help People to Survive, Even if they Can Never Become Real. (2017, Oct 24). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/hopes-and-dreams-help-people-to-survive-even-if-they-can-never-become-real-essay

Hopes and Dreams Help People to Survive, Even if they Can Never Become Real essay
Live chat  with support 24/7

👋 Hi! I’m your smart assistant Amy!

Don’t know where to start? Type your requirements and I’ll connect you to an academic expert within 3 minutes.

get help with your assignment