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"Hopes and Dreams Help People to Survive, Even if they can Never Become Real"How is this true for George and Lennie/ the characters in 'Of Mice and Men'?

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Introduction

Caroline Seely 11H "Hopes and Dreams Help People to Survive, Even if they can Never Become Real" 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. 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 ...read more.

Middle

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. ...read more.

Conclusion

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. ...read more.

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