Dreams In Of Mice And Men Essay

(From the Reader?s Digest Great Encyclopaedic Dictionary, Third Edition) dream n. Train of thoughts, images, or fancies passing through mind during sleep; Conscious indulgence of fancy, reverie, thing of dream-like beauty, charm, goodness, etc. As it is described above, a dream is something you indulge in, to escape momentarily from life. This seems to be the context that John Steinbeck intended his characters in Of Mice and Men to dream in. They are all craving for something – in the case of George and Lennie, that something is land. They are not the first travelling ranch hands to conjure up images of their own land, or of being their own bosses. This dream is similar to the Great American Dream, that you can achieve anything if you have the mind and desire to do it (and if Uncle Sam approves). Dreams are simple things in some ways, yet amazingly complex in others. Although we are not told this part of the story, imagine when George and Lennie first came up with their slice of the apple pie that is the Great American Dream. George was probably rambling on, as people seem to do around Lennie (take, for example, Crooks when Lennie goes into his room at night). What was just a simple thing to George, something t!o while away another couple of minutes on the way to another ranch, became something of a fixation to Lennie. After repeating it to Lennie as a bedtime story, maybe he eventually came to believe it himself. George and Lennie?s dream is a simple one – they want land to call their own. The feeling is summed up well by Candy: “Every body wants a bit of land, not much. Jus som?thin? that was his.” Crooks has also seen it all before: “I seen guys nearly crazy with lonelinessfor land, but ever? time a whore-houseor a blackjack game took what it takes.” George?s dream, although extremely similar to Lennie?s, is probably more detailed and complicated. Lennie thinks as far as “tendin? the rabbits”, but George has to worry about whether it would be possible to really “live offa fatta of the lan?”, or would they starve? Lennie, with his child-like mentality, believes whatever he hears, so when George tells him that they will really get their own land, he believes with all his heart. To Lennie, the question is not if, but when: “George, how long?s it gonna be till we get that littleplace an? live on the fatta the lan? – an? rabbits?” At the beginning of the novel, there are already some doubts as to whether the pair will achieve their dreams. We are told that the two men had to leave Weed because of some trouble that Lennie caused. This seems to forebode that they might fail to realize their dreams because of Lennie?s fondness for petting things. And this is exactly what happens. Lennie, although killed by George, really died when Curley?s wife set her sights on the big man. When George meets up with Lennie after the accident, he knows the dream is over for him too. He also knew what he had to do as soon as he found out what Lennie had done; why else would he have stolen Carson?s Luger? Maybe Lennie did get his dream, in one way or the other. As George is preparing to kill Lennie, he tells him one last time about “how it?s gonna be.” This last bedtime story for Lennie seems to describe not a little farm that they might buy, but the heaven someone might go to in their afterlife. As Lennie begs George “Le?s do it now. Le?s go to that place now”, and George replies “Sure, right now. I gotta. We gotta”, and then pulls the trigger, the pair seem at peace with themselves, and each other. George knows what he is doing is right, and he knows that Lennie would agree if he had the time to explain his reasoning to him. If Lennie could comprehend the reasoning behind George?s actions, he would realise that George was taking Candy?s unknowingly offered advice: “I ought to of shot that dog myself, George. Ishouldn?t ought to have let no stranger shoot my dog.” Rather then letting Curley shoot Lennie in the guts with a shotgun, and leave him to die a slow and painful death, George decides to offer his friend one last token of companionship: a painless way out into the land of their dream. Curley?s wife has a different type of dream. Instead of something to call her own, she wants fame, fortune and admiration. She tells the three “bindle stiffs” about her offers of fame. She is unhappy with her husband, and his constant stories of who he?s going beat up next: “Sure I gotta husban?. You allseen him. Swell guy, ain?t he?” When she is talking to Lennie, alone in the barn, she recounts her obviously well told stories of her offers of fame. She seems to have a deep regret that she didn?t take up either of the men on their offers: “If I?d went, I wouldn?t be livin? like this, you bet.” She also deeply believes in what she was told by the man who may have been only trying his luck with this woman, not knowing she would take his word as gospel: “He says he was gonna put me in the movies. Says I was a natural.” Her monologue, broken by only a few words from Lennie, tells of her need for affection, and how she needs to be wanted. Curley?s wife does not seem at all likely to achieve her dreams. Even if she wasn?t murdered, she was stuck in a rut with Curley, a rut that would she would have gone round and round in until he left her for a new woman, or she finally built up the courage to leave him. Also, someone who is referred to throughout an entire story as someone?s possession does not make a likely major character. Their marriage did not seem like one that was destined to last until they died of natural causes. But Curley?s wife did die, and her death, it seemed, was a release:“… the discontent and the ache for attention were all gone from her face. She was very pretty and simple, and her face was sweet and young.” This apparent release through death seems to lay the foundations for Lennie?s violent death, and its meaning. Curley himself has a dream that he has nearly achieved. He has a job, a house and a wife. For Curley, the old saying is true: “Two outta three ain?t bad.” His wife is the only negative aspect to his dream. She is not a storybook wife, and that is what Curley wants. Although she is obviously the submissive partner in the relationship (this is apparent by the way in which she is referred to as ‘Curley?s wife?), she is not submissive enough for Curley. As Candy the swamper told George and Lennie when they first met: “Well – she got the eye.” He goes on to tell them about the way he has seen her give the other men on the ranch “the eye”. He embellishes his previous statement with:“Well, I think Curley?s married … a tart.” Although Curley hasn?t seen any of this, according to Candy, he must have a feeling. He also has a dream that lots of short people have – to be bigger. He is extremely brusque with Lennie from the start, and the main reason for this is Lennie?s size. Curley seems very bitter about being short, and throughout the book seems to be trying to assert his position as the tough guy on the ranch. Curley, like his wife and Lennie, also seems to have been released in death, although in an indirect and very morbid way. Maybe he will miss his wife, or maybe he will use their mortal separation as a new starting point, a time to find out what he really wants, and perhaps a new wife, that doesn?t have “the eye”. Whit?s dream is stirred up from his subconscious mind by a name that jumped out from the page of a magazine. His old partner on the pea fields, Bill Tenner, got his letter printed in a magazine, something Whit seems envious about. This is a great example of a small man, who thinks small, aims low and probably misses. Candy does not seem to have a dream until he meets George and Lennie. He is swept up in the plausible reality of this dream, a dream he would probably be too scared to initiate by himself. Candy is not happy with his life on the ranch, but he doesn?t think that there is anything that he can do. The other main character in the story, Slim, doesn?t seem to have a dream. He seems to be happy with his job, and the skill with which he has been blessed. The idea of successful characters not having dreams is given further weight by the miniscule par


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