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Discuss the Significance of Dreams in 'Of Mice and Men'

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GCSE English Coursework Essay - Discuss the Significance of Dreams in 'Of Mice and Men' Of Mice and Men is a novella written by John Steinbeck in 1937. It is set in Soledad, California, and this is significant because 'Soledad' means 'loneliness'. The theme of dreams in Of Mice and Men is very significant to the plot of the story and for understanding characters. John Steinbeck uses dreams to thicken the plot and to give the characters more meaning and purpose. All of the characters in the story have dreams, and Steinbeck uses this to make the story more interesting. In this essay I will be discussing the significance of dreams for the individual main characters in the story and how they all link together within the plot. Steinbeck was born in 1902 in Salinas, California, a region that became the setting for much of his fiction, including Of Mice and Men. As a teenager, he spent his summers working as a hired hand on neighbouring ranches. These experiences help him to create an accurate image of life on the Great Plains during the depression. The story is set in 1930s America, which was a time known as the Great Depression. This was a period after the Civil War in America, where there was an economic depression in the States. ...read more.


An interesting point to note is that George claims his dream is to be free of Lennie and have a girlfriend but the truth is that he would prefer to have Lennie, and chase the American Dream with him. In this novel none of the characters succeed in living out the American Dream, and it is the same for these two. Once Lennie killed Curley's wife and had run away, George knew it was all over. He had to kill Lennie himself to save him from the lynch mob, so he had to end the dream himself. Candy is an old man working at the ranch. He lost his hand while working at the ranch, and they let him stay and work more out of pity than because he was a good worker. Candy's dog is also old and smells bad, and has lived with Candy all its life. It was Candy's only companion, and once Carlson shot the dog, Candy had nothing left. When he hears about George and Lennie's dream of owning a piece of farmland, Candy begins thinking of his own future at the ranch. He has little left in him, and also needs a place to settle, so he decides to chase the same dream as George and Lennie. He offers to put in all his life-savings in to paying for a bit of land, and George and Lennie agree. ...read more.


Crooks represents black people and the way USA has failed them. Curley's wife is the last of the major characters that has a dream. He is discriminated against and has to sleep alone behind the stables. Women are treated with contempt and are depicted as troublemakers who bring ruin on men and drive them mad. Despite this, Steinbeck still makes her seem like a relatively complex and interesting character. She is only a little girl, and we do feel a bit of sympathy for her by the end of the novel, because she is shown to be not as bad a person as first portrayed. She had a dream of reaching Hollywood and becoming a film star, but the man who scouted her told her he would write her a letter but she never received one. This forced her to marry Curley, who abuses her, and she is yet another example of a character trying and failing to achieve their dreams. In conclusion, the theme of dreams is significant to the story as it brings all the characters together. It shows what life was like during the Great Depression, how everyone had dreams but very few ever made it. The theme of dreams links in with loneliness in the novel. All the characters are lonely except George and Lennie, because they have each other, but even together they still fail in living out the American Dream. ...read more.

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