Of Mice and Men and American Dream

Powerful Essays
Hopes and dreams are important in ‘Of Mice and Men.’ Not is it important to the characters of the story itself, it is the theme of the novel. In this essay I will talk about the hopes and dreams of the main ensemble and also about the context of the novel, the American Dream and the Great Depression on the 1930’s. I will also talk about the poem Steinbeck based the book’s title off and how important it is to the book’s overall theme.

The dream of attaining land and – ultimately – happiness is one which motivates nearly every character. George often speaks to Lennie of a farm where the two of them can live in peace “an’ live off the fatta the lan’.” In these instances, at the novel’s opening and its ending, George is the accomplished actor and Lennie the entranced audience. So compelling is this dream that when Candy learns of it, he quickly offers his pension so that he can have a part of the dream’s reality. Even Crooks, who through suffering has been rendered worldly and cynical, asks if he may hoe a patch of garden on Lennie’s farm one day. Although Curley and his wife do not share George and Lennie’s pleasant fantasy, their dreams are also typically American: Curley wishes for utter respect and dominion over the other workers and Curley’s wife reveals before her death how she “coulda been in the movies.” Crooks rightly sums it up when he says, “I seen hundreds of men … come, an’ they quite an’ go on; an’ every damn one of ‘em’s got a little piece of land in his head.”

And what is the point of having these dreams? Most of the characters have expressed their personal unhappiness in their situation. Before the novel even begins, circumstances have denied the characters their desires. Candy lost his hand in an accident and constantly lives in the fear that he will no longer be useful to the ranch and will have outstayed his welcome. Curley’s wife married a man who she professes not to like. Crooks is black and therefore faces all of the racial prejudice that

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