Many characters in ‘Of Mice and Men’ have a dream. Describe the content of the dreams and why they are important to the individuals concerned. Why does it seem inevitable that none of the dreams will ever come true?
In ‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck many of the characters in the story have dreams. Some dream to be able to be their own boss, whilst others aspire to be in movies. Some dream of the day when they have security and others want to be able to re-live childhood memories. As you can see the dreams contrast with each other. I think that the characters have dreams as something to keep them going. Something to look forward to for the future. When times are hard the dream is a reminder of how good things can be. Dreams can also be seen as a way of escaping. When the characters feel their lives are boring they can imagine an alternative.
George and Lennie’s dream is to own a piece of land where they both could live. This appeals to George as he could be his own boss by not having to take orders from others. I also think George likes the idea of freedom and security. George complains of how Lennie has lost him every job he has had. By being his own boss that could no longer happen.
The dream appeals to Lennie for one reason. He has always dreamed of being able to have his own rabbits he can look after. To Candy, the main reason he gets involved is for security. Candy fears of the day when he will be sacked. Candy will be guaranteed a job if he works for himself. Candy appears to be very enthusiastic about the dream, who is unlike Crooks. Crooks is in on the dream but he backs out at the last minute. His dream is to re-live his childhood. This was a time where he felt happy as he was surrounded by family and friends.
Most characters are optimistic that the dream will come true. This is shown with the positive language used by the characters. Lennie is forever optimistic-“Damn right, I could” is an example of this. George is also positive-“Jesus Christ !I bet we could swing her” shows this.
I think that as a reader the idea that the dream will come true is unlikely. I think this because, the time in which ‘Of Mice and Men’ is set is an unforgiving one. Money was a big problem to all Americans in 1930 and George and Lennie are no exceptions. We also know from what other characters have said that a dream among ranch-hands is common. Crooks informs Lennie he has heard the idea of a dream many times before-“I see hundreds of men…same damn thing in their heads. An’ never a God damn one of ’em ever gets it.” The way George speaks of the dream also supports that the idea is more fiction than reality. The idea that everything will be perfect is looked on as being far to obscure to ever happen.
Throughout ‘Of Mice and Men’ the dream is often compared to a farirytale. The dream is mentioned on numerous occasions and the way in which it is written leads us to believe that the idea is to ambitious and will not come true. We could draw comparisons to a fairytale as it is a familiar story to both Lennie and George. “He repeated his words rhythmically” shows it has been said often.
Crooks’ dream is different to George and Lennie’s. In George and Lennie’s case they are looking forward to something they have never experienced whereas, Crooks dreams of the past. He dreams to re-live his childhood, this a time when he was most happy. Crooks’ childhood would have been much more secure than his current state. Crooks recalls when he would play with the white children and they would get on well. Crooks would like to incorporate his past into his life. He dreams of no longer being lonely and being secure once again.
We know that Crooks’ dreams for the future could not come true. This is because of the prejudice society he lived in. In the 1930’s black people were considered as being inferior they had almost no rights and could not mix with others. We are shown of the attitude to black people when Curley’s wife confronts Crooks. Racist terms such as- “Nigger” are frequently used. Curley’s wife continues with insults she tells Crooks- “I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain’t even funny” this shows more of how poorly black people were treated. I think that Curley’s wife’s attitude would be no different to most other white people in 1930 This making Crooks’ dream to be cared for again near impossible.
Curley’s wife’s dream is the most ambitious and obscure of all the characters in “Of Mice and Men”. She, not content with the normal lifestyle aspires to be a famous actress. Curley’s wife dreams of living a life of glamour in which she could own anything she wanted. I think Curley’s wife finds the idea of being an actress appealing as it is a great way of getting noticed and getting the attention she craves for.
Curley’s wife says the main reason she married Curley was to get revenge on her mother. Curley’s wife is certain that her mother ruined her chances of becoming an actress. She says her mother stole the letter that was sent from a movie producer. It is clear that Curley’s wife really had her heart set on becoming an actress. This is shown when Steinbeck uses the phrase “She was breathless with indignation”. This shows Curley’s wife wants people to hear her dream showing she is passionate about it.
Whilst reading ‘Of Mice and Men I looked upon the events that happened to Curley’s wife in a different way that she did. She says that two men had told her she could make it as an actress. The idea that the two men were being honest is unlikely to me. I believe that the two men tried to seduce Curley’s wife with the idea that she could be an actress as they knew she couldn’t refuse the opportunity. I also think Curley’s wife is wrong to think her mother stole her letters. I believe that the “movie producer” never wrote back at all.
Curley is the only person in ‘Of Mice and Men’ who has actually achieved his dream. He has became successful at boxing and has got married. Although, Curley is not happy in life. As he has achieved his dream he has no longer anything to hope for. Being good at boxing has made him very aggressive therefore unpopular among those on the ranch. It is Candy how says “Seems like Curley is cockier’n ever since he got married”. This shows Curley is also unliked for the fact he now has a wife as it has made him even more confident.
In ‘Of Mice and Men no matter how much the dreams seem to contrast they all have one similarity-the idea they will come true is unlikely. Almost all the characters face up to the facts at some point and realise there unlikelihood. George allows himself to think realistically as he knows how hard it is to find money. Crooks backs out of the dream realising how ambitious the idea really is. Lennie is the only exception, as always he is unaware.
I think that it seems inevitable that none of the dreams come true because all Americans in the 1930’s were trapped in a cycle. A cycle of poverty in which there are no real winners.