Why Are Dreams Important in 'Of Mice and Men,' Related to the Context?

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Why Are Dreams Important in ‘Of Mice and Men,’ Related to the Context?

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The book, ‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck revolves around the idea of the fabled ‘American Dream’ and the concept of the drudgery of life in America at the time of the Great Depression. Steinbeck seems to contradict both ideas in his book; he ultimately shows us how the American Dream is end of the day, just that, a dream, and he also shows us how despite the fact that there can be drudgery in routine, there are ways of combating and overcoming that. The book is based around the American Dream, this idea that America was a solution to all the world’s problems; a country of prosperity and equality and fertility, but leading on from the American Dream follows the idea of Lennie’s dream, which is almost the backbone of the book, in the same way that it becomes the backbone of many of the characters’ existence.

The Dream in the book is likened to the idea of heaven. The idyllic setting, the peace and the quiet are all huge contrasts to life at that time. The Dream from the very beginning is almost set out to be unattainable. Crooks, in chapter 4 states that “nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land” which is important in showing the way that for men on the ranch, for people whose lives are tainted by monotony, the idea of The Dream seems like a really far fetched notion. The Dream is something that is a beacon of hope to the men on the ranch and if it wasn’t for the character of Lennie, none of the other men would have believed in it being a possible reality. The belief in The Dream stems from Lennie’s conviction in it, and this shows how childlike it is in its existence. The Dream is never attained by any of the characters, except perhaps by Lennie, because The Dream is his heaven. The Dream in the book in important in showing a contrast to life on the ranch, showing how hope can get people further, but ultimately what it shows is reality always wins; that no matter how much you believe and hope, the average man cannot attain something that is purely fantasy. This pessimistic view on faith and hope from Steinbeck shows how at the time, the people had very little to be optimistic towards and practically nothing to be hopeful for.

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The Dream in the opposite way is used not to define reality, but to mask it. The main example of this is George’s recital of The Dream at the end of the novel when he shoots Lennie. George hides Lennie’s fate from him by keeping him happy with the typical idea of The Dream, almost to pacify Lennie. In another way, The Dream is used to mask Candy’s reality. Candy knows his fate; that he will ultimately be ‘canned,’ but the dream is a way of him avoiding the truth. He puts everything he has left, his money, his effort ...

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