From the beginning of the book, both Lennie and George have a somewhat unbelievable dream to make enough money to live “off the fat of the land”. Originally George tells this story to Lennie as just that, a story. George does not have a vivid belief that their dreams will eventuate into anything more. When George and Lennie share their dream with Candy, George seems to come to the realisation that with Candy’s help their dream could become a reality in the near future. This seems to raise George’s hopes and he convinces himself that it is truly possible to have the American Dream. Lennie on the other hand has no understanding of the American Dream, all he knows is that it involves “tending the rabbits”. None of the other details are important in his mind. Dreams are a major theme in the novel Of Mice and Men, they foreshadow how every character eventually resigns to their current life but still has their dreams in the far corners of their minds.
Loneliness is a major theme within Of Mice and Men; it is also intricately involved with the theme of the American Dream. Both George and Lennie exhibit signs of loneliness throughout the novel. George can see the reality of being a ranch hand the rest of their lives, ‘Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They belong in no place.’ This sense of loneliness that both George and Lennie feel leads them to develop a dream.
This dream motivates them to work and is the one thing that distracts them from their loneliness. The rest of the ranch feel the same feelings that George and Lennie experience. At different times throughout the book various characters open up to Lennie about their loneliness. Curley’s wife states “I get lonely,’ she said. ‘You can talk to people, but I can’t talk to nobody but Curley”. Crooks also inadvertently admits to Lennie that he is lonely by becoming caught up in Lennie, George and Candy’s dream for a short period of time.
The Friendship between George and Lennie is somewhat unconventional. Lennie is like a young child and George is the parent who is constantly looking out for him. Their friendship ties in neatly with the theme of loneliness. They are friends out of the need for companionship and because it is all that they have ever known. Many of the people on the ranch do not understand their friendship and think that George is simply taking advantage of Lennie’s stupidity. The boss, in particular, is suspicious of their relationship, “I said what stake you got in this guy? You takin’ his pay away from him?” George in particular is hesitant to make friends with any of the other ranch workers, but Lennie cannot help but be friendly to everyone.
Lennie is the most innocent character within Of Mice and Men; he has no understanding of the world around him and seems to live in his own fantasy world. George carries on moving around despite Lennie continuing to let him down (the Weed incident). George himself is innocent in his beliefs that Lennie will not fall short of his expectations and that their dreams will eventually come true.
Lennie, in particular falls victim to discrimination. The ranch workers naturally assume upon first sight of Lennie that he is a very strong man. Their next impression of Lennie is that he isn’t the brightest man. Neither of these assumptions is incorrect, but they could be classed as discriminative. He is considered dispensable and is a similar situation as Candy, Candy’s dog and Crooks. The discrimination is both verbally, emotionally and mentally directed towards these 4 characters.