Of Mice and Men is a novel written by John Steinbeck set in America around the 1930’s in the Great Depression. Of Mice and Men is a book based on the lives of two migrants, who have a dream that they both aspire to. The question that will be answered in this essay is: What hopes and dreams comfort the characters in Steinbeck’s novel? Lennie, the less dominant of the two migrants, is the one who aspires most to this dream in relation of being able to tend rabbits, and when Candy finds out about their dream – it becomes something all three of them are willing to fulfill.
Lennie, the more dependent of the two migrants, shows more belief in their dream, especially to tend the rabbits. Firstly, the reason behind why Lennie has more belief is because he values tending rabbits so much. For example, Lennie asks George to tell him about their dream and he asks, “”an’ rabbits””, and he goes on to elaborate the relationship which he is willing to be responsible for when he says, “”an’ I’d take care of ’em. Tell how I’d do that George.”” (85) George always repeats the dream when Lennie asks him to, as it binds them together and it is one thing Lennie values most.
Furthermore, George uses the dream as a means of keeping Lennie with him and to keep him moving, even though he comprehends the fact that it will never be accomplished. However, he does respect it as it means his friendship. When Candy asks George, “”You an’ me can get that little place, can’t we, George?”” George drops his head and replies “softly: “- I think I knowed from the very first. I think I knowed we’d never do her””. (131) However, George is ready to fulfill the dream when Candy says that he has “”two hundred and fifty dollars”” and “”fifty more saved up right in the bank.”” (87) Steinbeck uses Lennie as a character to symbolize dreams, when Lennie dies so does the dream.
Candy, an underdog in Steinbeck’s novel also plays a role in the dream to “”live offa the fatta the lan’.”” (85) Firstly, Candy wants to be part of their dream to secure his future. For example, after Candy joins them in their dream he tells them that if he didn’t “”They’ll can me purty soon.”” As Candy is of such an old age and handicapped he says “”as soon as I can’t swamp out no bunk-houses they’ll put me on the county””. (88) Candy is ready to give in to them because he knows he will be somewhere in the future as he will be sacked from his job. Likewise, Candy is also prepared to work for them and be a major contributor to their financial needs. He tells them he will work for them when he says, “”I could cook and tend the chickens and hoe the garden some.”” (87) He feels so desperate that he wants them to “”let me hoe in the garden even after I ain’t no good at it.”” (88). Because Candy doesn’t have control over his life, to have his “”own place”” (88) will raise his status. Also, he doesn’t want to end up like his dog, who after turning old “”wasn’t no good to himself nor anyone else”” (88). Candy knows that his future is not good, and the dream is the perfect answer for his fate.
Another underdog, Curley’s wife regrets her fate in the past but holds it as a hope. For example, she tells Lennie about when once “”a show came through””. She says that one of the actors in that show would let her go with them. She goes on to say, “”If I’d went, I wouldn’t be livin’ like this, you bet”” (124). This hope still exists for her ’cause she tells him, “”maybe I will yet.”” (124). The main reason for her to keep her hopes up is because there is no other pass time. She dresses up every day with “full, rouged lips, and wide-spaced eyes heavily made up. …Her hair hung in little rolled clusters, like sausages. She wore a cotton house dress and red mules, on the insteps of which were little bouquets of red ostrich feathers.” (53) Curley’s wife used this as her pass time, but also in an expectation that maybe one day she would reignite her life with her hope of being in Hollywood.
Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men shows us that dreams in the time of the Great Depression were really hard to achieve, but played an important part of everyone’s life. Lennie and George dream of owning their own land, but Lennie’s dream of tending rabbits slightly overshadows all the other dreams.