How important are dreams in "Of MIce and Men"?

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How important are dreams in "Of Mice and Men"?

Of Mice and Men is set in Salinas, California in the 1930s Great Depression. Life was hard and men could be cruel. Hope might be the only escape from hard reality. This links to the American Dream� represented in George and Lennie�s dream of working hard and getting their own land and farm, and control over their own lives. But it was harder than ever to achieve due to the tough economic conditions of the Depression. After Lennie�s death, it might be possible for George to realise his dream, but the emptiness at the end of the novel shows that financial success is nothing when you are lonely. So the dream is not just something to own, or possess, but also something to share.

Lennie and George have a fairly simple dream: to own a small farm, and be their own bosses, which contrasts with the large factory type farm they are on, where men are treated like machines, which are frequently broken (Crooks and Candy), and isolated from each other. George repeats his and Lennie�s dream like a mantra: �we got a future�, suggesting that they are different to the others. �Future� here is a metaphor for something bright, and greater than what they have now � like the American Dream to �live off the fatta the land�. The phrase �fat of the land� almost suggests a biblical promised land after the hard, �wilderness� years. The function of the dream therefore is to help them to endure hardship and not give in to despair. They want control of their own lives: �we�ll just say the hell with goin to work�. This can make them seem naive however, as farmers have to work whether they want to or not � especially smallholders.

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When George sets out the dream, he then says that he and Lennie are �not like those other guys�. The dream sets George and Lennie apart from the others; they make themselves special: in the inclusive �we� against the exclusive �those other guys�. The juxtaposition of �us� and �them� verbally bonds the protagonists together in contrast to the other men � even though they are all, George, Lennie, Crooks, Candy, in the same situation. Still, George and Lennie separate themselves from the others by using the third person to describe farm hands as, �the loneliest guys in the world.� ...

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