How far do you think Steinbeck presents dreams as futile in Of Mice and Men?

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How far do you think Steinbeck presents dreams as futile in ‘Of Mice and Men’?

‘Of Mice and Men’ is set on a ranch situated in the Salinas Valley in California during the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Steinbeck tells the story of two migrant workers who try to escape homelessness, economic poverty, and emotional and psychological corruption. Steinbeck presents a lot of dreams as futile in his novel ‘Of Mice and Men’. All the characters dreams are different in their own personal way but they all result in them yearning for something better in their lives. These different characters explore the underlying theme of futile dreams expressed in this novella.

Steinbeck uses the concept of dreams to show hope and aspiration, as they invoke companionship with united determination for a better future. Steinbeck presents dreams as a tool to aid the ranchmen’s survival and happiness. They give a sense of purpose, and act as a reward after long days of hard labor on the ranch. The men use the dreams to differentiate themselves from hundreds of other migrant workers in the same position. It offers them escapism from the mundane, dull, repetition of the bunkhouse, where 'the walls were whitewashed and the floor unpainted'. The idea of dreams prolonging survival and happiness is best portrayed by the dream and relationship shared by the protagonists Lennie and George. George and Lennie’s dream is of a very small farm, a patch of land in which they own themselves. It is a dream of working for themselves, of being independent. We also know it is a dream shared by many thousands of itinerant ranch hands, and as Crooks evokes ‘Seems like ever' guy got land in his head’. George and Lennie’s joint dream to 'live off the fatta the lan' has formed a strong bond and friendship between the pair, unusual in this hostile, competitive working environment displayed by Steinbeck. They need each other's companionship to erase isolation and loneliness, and to make their dream seem more realistic. The continuous repetition of the American Dream becomes a huge factor relating to Steinbeck’s futility of dreams in this novella.

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‘Why’n’t you do it yourself? You know all of it.’

This illustrates the reflection of the American Dream during the Depression to the fact that the dream is so repeated between the two men that even mentally ill Lennie has memorized it, which highlights his emersion in the dream, as he knows it off by heart. This talk of the farm oscillates wildly throughout the play and evokes that the farm is a dream to George, a hope for Lennie, and eventually even a plan for Candy. The farm is the dream that keeps them going, but sometimes is just ...

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