In the novel “Of Mice and Men” dreams are very important to different characters. Dreams keep the migrant workers going, these dreams give the workers going and make them work harder in the belief that one day their dream will come true. George and Lennie’s dream is the main dream in the novel, They dream of owning their own land, and being able to be their own boss, they want freedom and the ability to do what they want when they want. Lennie dreams of tending the rabbits and “Living of the fatta the lan'”. Candy the old crippled farm hand joins their dream and he gives money to help buy the land, This fuels the dream and makes them believe it more, Candy needs this dream to give his monotonous life some hope. Other characters have dreams as well, Curley’s Wife dreams of becoming an actress, he has this dream to distract her from the hardships of being the only woman on the farm and the reality of the man she has married.
George and Lennie’s dream is a version of the American Dream, A dream of being successful and being your own boss, it was an escape from the unfulfilling life that they lead this was a dream that many migrant farm workers had, This novel was set at the time of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. The Dust bowl affected farming as the series of terrible droughts in the south west made once fertile land to into Dust Bowls hence the nickname, this made many workers travel to the west to find work, most went from ranch to ranch on short term poorly paid contracts. This means dreams are all the workers had, they would dream of a better life and this would give them the determination to carry on and it would give them something to hope for.
Curley’s Wife dreams of becoming an actress, men told her she could fulfil this dream but they always let her down, because of this her dream crumbled and she married Curley, When she heard about George and Lennie’s dream its made her think about her dream again, it makes her resent the fact that she married Curley she feels if she hadn’t of married him then she could have been famous, she says “Coulda been in the movies, an’ had nice clothes – all of them nice clothes like they wear, an’ I coulda sat in them big hotels.”
Crooks is very cynical of George and Lennie’s dream, he says “Nobody never gets to heaven and nobody gets no land” but after Candy says he has the money for the land, Crooks changes his mind hes says “If you … guys would want a hand to work for nothing – just his keep, why I’d come an’ lend a hand” He says this because he know that it will probably never happen as he knows reality doesn’t allow dreams to become reality.
Bill Tenner’s article features in a wild west magazine which gives a glamorous view of cowboys. The ranch hands are really interested by this article because when bill Tenner worked at the ranch he always dreamed of getting a letter published in this magazine, now that he has done it, it gives the ranch hand hope that one day they can get their dreams, they want to be seen as cowboys this helps them survive their day to day lifes.
Steinbeck knows that George and Lennie’s dream could never become true because of Lennie’s character, Lennie cares and his heart is in the right [;ace but he doesn’t realise his own strength, he trys not to get in trouble but always ends up doing something wrong.
The novel’s title comes from a poem, To a Mouse (on turning her up in her nest with the plough) by the Scots poet Robert Burns (1759-1796):
“The best-laid plans of mice and men
Gang aft agley (=often go wrong).
And leave us naught but grief and pain
For promised joy.”
Burns shows how the plans of men are no more secure than those of the mouse, and this is the point of Steinbeck’s title. The source of the characters’ dreams is their discontent with their present. Steinbeck shows how poor their lifestyle is: they have few possessions, fewer comforts, no chance of marriage or family life and no place of their own.