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The Role Of Hope And Dreams In The Characters' Lives In Of Mice And Men

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If an individual is struggling, how do they stay positive during difficult times? Do they believe nothing will get better, or do they stay hopeful? Focusing on hopes and dreams is something many people do to get through hard times. Looking at the big picture gives people purpose and enables them to keep going. Unfortunately, having faith that things will improve is not always sufficient. In his novella Of Mice and Men, author John Steinbeck uses George’s dream home, Curley’s wife’s missing letter, and Candy’s dream to illustrate that individuals maintain their hopes and dreams because it helps them live and function.

To begin, George’s hope to have his own farm symbolizes the failed American dream. When George saw Curley’s wife dead on the barn floor, he knew immediately that Lennie had killed her. He realizes that the other ranch workers will want to capture Lennie, who had run away. During a conversation with Candy, he confesses, “I think I knowed from the very first. I think I knowed we’d never do her. He usta like to hear about it so much I got to thinking maybe we would” (94). George had the American dream of owning his own house and being able to do whatever he liked. Although at first he may have only recited this goal because Lennie asked him to, he started to believe in it because it helped him live and work through this difficult time. It’s shown that George is a persistent character when he continued to strive to meet his goal even when he had doubts.

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Second, Curley’s wife’s missing letter reveals what may happen to those who don’t take advantage of an opportunity. Curley’s wife talks to Lennie alone in the barn about the dream she holds on to of becoming an actress. When she was younger, she met a man at a dance palace who said she was a natural, and that he would write her a letter to put her in movies. She never heard back from him, and always thought her mother had stolen his letter. After telling her story to Lennie, she claims, “Coulda been in the movies, an’ had nice clothes- all them nice clothes like they wear. An’ I coulda sat in them big hotels, an’ had pitchers took of me” (89). Even though she is called Curley’s wife, which implies she is simply Curley’s property, she explains how she is independent. Her dream is to become an actress, but also to have freedom and escape her unhappy marriage. Since she didn’t take the opportunity to be in the shows that went through her town as a kid, she is left dreaming about the possibility of what she could’ve become and instead using her dream to make the days at the ranch easier to live in. Being the only woman on the ranch, she leads the workers on and treats them poorly, which also shows she is unhappy with her controlling husband.

Lastly, Candy’s dream of sharing a farm with George and Lennie symbolizes his last hope. Candy was depressed after his dog was shot, and got excited for the first time in a while when Lennie mentioned saving up for his own farm with George. Later after discovering Curley’s wife dead on the barn floor, he grabs George to show him. At this time, he realizes his dream will never be fulfilled. He cries, “You an’ me can get that little place, can’t we, George? You an’ me can go there an’ live nice, can’t we, George? Can’t we?” (94). He gives up on his dream and becomes hopeless. His freedom and independence was extremely important to him, and motivated him after his dog died. As an older man with only one hand, he’s in an even lower class than the ranch workers. He knows they will lay him off soon because of his physical state. Having control over his own life by living in a house with two friends is his last chance of being free.

George, Curley’s wife, and Candy were able to stand the challenging days of the ranch because they maintain their hopes and dreams. Steinbeck’s novella may seem cruel, but that doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant. J.K. Rowling and Stephen King are writers who dealt with tremendous obstacles, but never let them get in the way of their goals. Similar to the characters in Of Mice and Men, these individuals show us it is essential to stay focused on our hopes and dreams. By reaching for our goals, we will better ourselves and the world we live in.

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The Role Of Hope And Dreams In The Characters’ Lives In Of Mice And Men. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 4, 2023, from
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