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Of Mice and Men and "hope Is the Thing with Feathers" Comparison

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In both "Hope is the thing with feathers", by Emily Dickinson, and Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, hope is portrayed as keeping up one's spirit, and welcome when times are grueling, and sounding promising but not always making sense. Curley's wife dreams of being a movie star, and this keeps her married, if unhappily, to Curley, but her dream is actually a delusion, and while promising much, never actually delivers. George and Lennie are sustained throughout their troubles by their dream of a farm and escape from the migrant worker's life, and while it could have happened, Lennie kills Curley's wife, thus making their dream impossible. The poem describes hope as a tangible thing that is constant in the soul, and attracts people to it, but isn't rational.

In "Hope is the thing with feathers", hope is heard in troubled times and warms the soul, but isn't always rational. The poem says of hope, "That [it] perches in the soul" (2). Hope is described as constant, and as an irrefutable part of us. Hope is also, "sweetest-in the Gale" (5). People can have hope anytime, anywhere. Hope is welcome when all else has failed. However pleasing hope is, it, "sings the tune without the words" (3). Hope sounds nice, and promises much, but there are no words to back up the tune, and is mostly something to keep one going, not something that will ever amount to anything.

Curley's wife hopes to be a movie star, and this is her fantasy that keeps her with Curley, but she deludes herself and could never actually go to Hollywood. Curley's wife says she, "could of went with shows" (86). She thinks the reason she never was able to was because, "my ol' lady stole" (97) a letter asking her to come to Hollywood. However, the man who said he could put her in the pictures was simply using her, and she was deluding herself to make her life bearable. When she died, "the meanness and plannings and discontent...were all gone from her face" (101). She was only 'happy' in death, because her dream was false.

If Lennie and George didn't have their dream, they wouldn't have had the drive in their life, and would have descended to the level of the other hands; however, their dream wasn't rational and probably wouldn't have succeeded anyways. Lennie says to George, "I got you to look after me, and you got

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