In the book Of Mice and Men, it is evident that the friendship between George and Lennie is strong. They have each other and that makes them different from all of other characters. They are not necessarily stuck in the circle of all ranchers; they have a chance to go onto bigger things. The story takes place during the Great Depression. Finding a job and remaining optimistic was hard back then. Lennie and George work through the though times together and remain happy with each other’s company. Through this, Steinbeck reveals the theme that hope and companionship is necessary to survive.
Candy shows that companionship and hope are necessary to survive. His best friend and lifelong companion were his sheep dog. He grew up with him herding sheep when he was young. That dog gave Candy reason to live. He didn’t have much hope because of his age, but because Candy had a friend, he could live happily. Unfortunately, not everybody was so tolerable to the “dragfooted sheep dog, gray of muzzle, and with pale, blind old eyes.” The dog smelled so Carlson shot it, taking away Candy’s companion. This left Candy without a friend and much hope. He was down in the dumps until he heard George and Lennie talk about the farm that they are going to own one day. This brings Candy’s hope up and he has something to live for once again. He spends all his time planning how their farm is going to be and the jobs they are all going to do. He can’t stop thinking about it. Unfortunately, his dream is crushed when Lennie does a bad thing. Candy is once again just a normal rancher without hope or a real friend. He will live the rest of his life unhappy. Candy shows that you can’t survive unless you have hope and a companion.
Crooks also proves that hope and companionship are needed to survive. He even says it himself; “A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. I tell ya a guy gets too lonely and he gets sick.” This is something that Crooks would know, because he doesn’t have any friends. He is black and living during the Great Depression, and unfortunatley there was intolerance for black people back then. He is also crippled, which doesn’t help. Crooks would take any friend he could get, even someone as crazy as him. That’s why he lets Lennie in his room, then he at least has someone to talk to, even if they don’t make any sense. Just being around other people that treat him equal makes him feel good. When he hears about George, Lennie, and Candy’s plan to buy a farm and live of the fat of the land, he gains hope. He thinks that he can escape the world he is stuck in and becomes optimistic for a short while. Curly’s wife immediately gets rid of any hope he had by reducing him down to nothing. When she yelled at Crooks, he “drew into himself.” After she’s done yelling at him, everyone leaves and he is back to being alone without hope. Crooks shows that hope and companionship are necessary to survive.
The fact that companionship and hope are necessary to survive is well demonstrated by Lennie and George. They have each other, which separates them from the other men. The other ranchers don’t have anyone “that gives a hoot in hell” for them. Slim says, “Ain’t many guys travel around together. I don’t know why. Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.” There is a lot of truth in this, because there was competition for jobs during the Great Depression. Most men were just trying to do the best they could for themselves, as it was hard to find work and earn money at the time. It was also their instinct to compete and be wary of others that could challenge for their job. George and Lennie teamed up instead of turning on one another. Lennie was big and strong, so he could do hard work. George was smaller, but he was smart, friendly, and crafty, which George lacked. These characteristics paired together enabled them to find a job together and stay out of trouble, for the most part. Their companionship gave them hope. Since had a job and were making money, they had a dream of one day buying a farm of their own. This dream helped to keep them working together; thinking that one day their fantasy might come true. They came very close to accomplishing their goal, but their hopes were destroyed by someone without hope or companionship, Curly’s wife. Because Lennie and George had a friendship and hope, they had a chance.
All of these examples show that you need a friend and hope to live happily. George and Lennie had each other, and just having that company gave them a chance to go onto bigger things. They also always had someone to talk to, which Crooks lacked. Crooks wasn’t happy because he didn’t have and real friends. He was also black, which didn’t give him much hope of going on to greater things. Curly had his dog, which gave him company, and then he took part in George and Lennie’s dream of owning a farm. Unfortunatley for him both of these things that made him happy were taken away and he could not live a good life any longer. Companionship and hope are needed to survive.
This academia was first published 11 Feb 2004 and last revised 13 Feb 2016.Adam Cap is a sometimes raconteur, rare dingus collector, and webmaster probably best known for SixPrizes (serving as “El Capitan”) and PkmnCards (read: fine art purveyor). He scrapbooks yonder every minute or three.
Discuss the role of dreams in Of Mice and Men. What purpose do they serve? Are they ultimately beneficial or harmful?
In Of Mice and Men, it seems an incontrovertible law of nature that dreams should go unfulfilled. From George and Lennie’s ranch to Curley’s wife’s stardom, the characters’ most cherished aspirations repeatedly fail to materialize. However, the fact that they do dream—often long after the possibility of realizing those dreams has vanished—suggests that dreaming serves a purpose in their lives. What the characters ultimately fail to see is that, in Steinbeck’s harsh world, dreams are not only a source of happiness but a source of misery as well.
For the characters in Of Mice and Men, dreams are useful because they map out the possibilities of human happiness. Just as a map helps a traveler locate himself on the road, dreams help Lennie, George, and the others understand where they are and where they’re going. Many dreams in the work have a physical dimension: Not just wishes to be achieved, they are places to be reached. The fact that George’s ranch, the central dream of the book, is an actual place as opposed to a person or a thing underlines this geographical element. Dreams turn the characters’ otherwise meandering lives into journeys with a purpose, as they take pride in actions that support the achievement of their dreams and reject actions that do not. Having a destination gives the men’s lives meaning. Indeed, when others begin to believe in the dream-space that George has created, it becomes almost realer to them than the farm they work at, a phenomenon illustrated by Candy’s constant “figuring” about how to make good on their fantasy.
Dreams help the characters feel like more active participants in their own lives because they allow them to believe that the choices they make can have real, tangible benefits. They also help characters cope with misery and hardship, keeping them from succumbing to the difficulties they face regularly. In their darkest moments, George and Lennie invoke their ranch like a spell that can temper their daily sufferings and injustices. George and Lennie almost always fantasize about the ranch after some traumatic event or at the end of a long day, suggesting that they rely on their dreams as a kind of salve. The dream of the ranch offers George, Lennie, Candy, and the others a goal to work toward as well as the inspiration to keep struggling when things seem grim.
But by the end of the story, Steinbeck reveals that dreams can be as poisonous as they are beneficial. What George discovers—and what Crooks already seems to know when he scornfully spurns Candy’s offer to join him, Lennie, and George—is that dreams are too often merely an articulation of what never can be. In such cases, dreams become a source of intense bitterness because they seduce cynical men to believe in them and then mock those men for their gullibility. The workers’ love of Western magazines suggests just such a relationship to dreams: Each one scoffs at the magazines in public but manages to sneak furtive glances when no one else is looking, as if they secretly wanted to be the cowboy heroes of pulp fiction. No one seems to understand this bitterness better than Crooks, whose sullen self-loathing is never stronger than when he lets himself believe in Lennie’s dream, only to be brutally reminded by Curley’s wife that he is not entitled to happiness in a white man’s world.
Ultimately, the dreams of ranches and rabbits that George and Lennie treasure are the very things that undo them. Seduced by how close he thinks he is to realizing his dream, George fools himself into thinking that Lennie can mind himself and stay out of trouble when past events confirm the contrary. In the end, George does not despair at Lennie’s death because the ranch is forever lost to him, but rather because his friend—the one good reality of his life, the one reality that redeemed George from worthlessness—is forever lost to him.
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Of Mice and Men (SparkNotes Literature Guide Series)