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Of Mice and Men - Hopes and Dreams

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Hopes and dreams are both the fuel and fire in Of Mice and Men. Stienbeck uses these to thicken the plot and make the reader take large interest into the character's outcomes.

George and Lennie have a dream. "Someday--we're gonna get the jack together and we're gonna have a little house and a couple of acres an' a cow and some pigs." [George, p. 15] Being lowly ranch hands, they dream of a better life, where they don't work for anyone but themselves. George, the much smarter one of the two, is quite optimistic about it. It seems that he has already talked with someone about buying his or her land. Lennie, the mentally retarded brute, is childly amused of the dream. He loves soft things, and touching them; and when George tells of the rabbits they will have on the farm, Lennie shivers in joy.

Candy is a much older man, who has lost his hand. He isn't worth as much to the ranch's employer as the other men, so he fears unemployment. He too dreams of a better life. One day, in the bunkhouse, he overhears George and Lennie talking about their future plans. "You know a place like that?" [Candy, p. 59]

George immediately grows suspicious of the man, defending the deal. Candy explains that he hasn't much time left before he's 'canned' and he has no place to go. Candy offers a large sum of money to the two, and asks only to live there until he dies. George accepts and Candy is grateful.

"Went out to the Riverside Dance Palace his this guy. He said he worked for the pitchers, he said I was a natural, he was gonna put me in a movie" [Curly's wife, p. 89] Curly's wife, the symbol of temptation in the novel, has dreams of her own. She wanted badly to become an actress, or work in show business. But, because of a cruel mother, she never met those dreams. Instead, she married Curly, who is a possessive pretty boy, and she is unhappy.

Hopes and dreams serve as the main plot. With the loneliness of the setting and situation of the characters in the story, the dreams are quite practical and obtainable.



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