Of Mice and Men
I see hundreds of men come by on the road an’ on the ranches, with their bindles on their back an’ that same damn thing in their heads. They come an’ they quit an’ go on; an’ every damn one of em’s got a little piece of land in his head. An’ never a god damn on’ of em’ ever get’s it. Just like heaven. ” This is the quote from Crooks and it summarises what most of the book is about, everyone wants that little bit of land to call their own. Hardly any of them ever get it. Just like heaven, which is referred to at the end of the book when Lennie is shot and he sees paradise; “look down there across the river like you can almost see the place.
” But sometimes people do get their dreams. Lennie will get his when he gets to heaven. One of the few people in the book who does achieve his dream is the boss. “On his head was a solid brown Stetson hat, and he wore high heeled boots and spurs to show prove that he was not a labouring man. ” He is a bit like a cowboy, which is what a lot of the other men aspire to be. The boots and the spurs show that he doesn’t work and men recognise this and respect him because of his clothes. He also smokes a cigar, which is a symbol of success, as his dream has become a reality.
Most men aspire to be like the boss but few people realise that this is not achievable but Whit is one of the few men who does realise it. “And these shelves were loaded with those western magazines ranch men loved to read and scoff at and secretly believe. ” A lot of men want to be a like the characters in these magazines that are a bit like the boss but obviously they can’t be because cowboys were so long ago in history. Whit shows Slim a letter written by the former ranch hand, Bill Tenner. The letter is to a cowboy magazine about cowboy stories.
He is delighted that Bill’s letter is in print. The author says “ but he did not surrender his hold on the letter. ” This suggests that Whit has great admiration for his friend Bill and that his own dream is modest like his friend’s. The power of Whit’s dream lies in the fact that it is ordinary and achievable. Steinbeck is also showing this dream in another way; the dream shows how limited the male dreams are but this dream helps us, the readers, to see why dreams are so important to men because its often the only thing that they have. Similarly to the boss, Curley has achieved his dream.
He is going to inherit the farm and he got his fame from getting to the final in the Golden Gloves, a boxing competition but this dream has been ruined as Lennie has crushed his hand, but this is his own fault he was looking for a fight. “ His hands were closed into fists. ” This is how he walked around and his body language showed he was just hoping for a fight. Having all this you would think that he would be happy but he isn’t. He is referred to as “not a nice fella” and violent and aggressive words such as “lashed” and “furiously” are used to describe his actions.
Curley’s main concern seems to be that his marriage to his pretty young wife is not lining up to his expectations. “ Married two weeks and she’s got the eye? ” He hasn’t been married for very long and his wife is already flirting with other men and this explains Curley’s mood. The power of Curley’s dream is revealed by his frustration and desire to fight everyone he meets and the worries he has about his wife. Curley’s wife thinks she could be a natural movie star. She wants the clothes, wealth and the fame but actually she has already got quite a lot of these things.
“She wore a cotton house dress and red mules, on the instep of which were little bouquets of red ostrich feathers. ” A ranch is no place for a girl like this especially wearing clothes like this and George even say to her “Why’n’t you stay the hell home where you belong? ” Even though George says this to her she ignores him and still flirts heavily. She thought that receiving a letter could make her a movie star but she never got that letter, she was annoyed with her old women as she thought that she stole it.
In frustration at this she married Curley and she is now disenchanted, lonely and depressed. She thinks that she is superior to all the men on the ranch “ she regarded them amusedly” but in fact she is gullible and a fool for ever believing in her dream. However, as she is the only female character in the book it makes us see how hard it must have been for her and maybe that’s why she is the way that she is and that’s how Steinbeck how has chosen to show the power of her dream. Crooks is the stable buck and he is a negro.
At the time the book was written, negro’s were completely rejected in society and we see this when Steinbeck is describing Crooks. “His eyes seemed to glitter with intensity… he had thin, pain tightened lips. ” Crooks has not only suffered from the physical aspect of his injury but also his loneliness and prejudice, despite this Crooks is a proud intelligent man. Crooks appears to have had his dream, it was his childhood and now he is staring to realise how good it was compared to the life that he has now. “ My old man had a chicken ranch, ‘bout ten acres.
The white kids come to play at our place an’ sometimes I went to play with them, and some of them was pretty nice. ” Crooks longs not to be lonely and have friends like he did when he was a child. Crooks briefly opens up to Candy and Lennie and says “ If you… guys would want a hand to work for nothing – just his keep, why I’d come an’ lend a hand. ” He is then forced back into his negro shell by Curley’s wife and he then knows George will also reject the idea so he back down first as he knows what little power he has in the situation.
Steinbeck shows the power of his dream through the recollections of his childhood and also the pain he goes through with his injury and the pain in his heart from all of the racial hatred and loneliness that he has to endure, this is the complete opposite to what George, Lennie and Candy have together. But If Lennie were without George, Lennie would probably end up in a cave in a mountain having nightmares of his aunt Clara or about not being able to tend the rabbits. Lennie is just like an animal and animals would want their owner to feel bad if they were to wonder off.
George is the owner and Lennie is making George commit to him by threatening to go off into the wild. Lennie need’s George to tell his story otherwise he doesn’t have a dream. “ No place for rabbits now, but I could easily build a few hutches. ” Tending the rabbits is something Lennie has found out about from George, who found out about if from fairs and markets and he needs him to make his dream become a reality. If George were without Lennie, George thinks he would have a swell time. “An’ where’s George now?
In town in a whorehouse. That’s where your money’s goin’. ” This is one thing that could stop George, Lennie and Candy from achieving their dream. However George likes hanging out with people who are just like him and he can have a good time with rather than worrying about them like he has to do with Lennie and Candy, but he realises how shallow this is and stays loyal to Lennie by staying with him. “They come up to a ranch an’ work up a stake and then they go into town and blow their stake.
George says this and if he didn’t have Lennie this is exactly what he would do but he does have Lennie so he has to make his dream happen just like a parent making their child’s dream come true, this is worth more than throwing money away at a whorehouse and shows how loyal George is for making Lennie’s dream come true. George, Lennie and Candy have a dream, which is a bit like every other bindle stiff. “ Well it’s ten acres. Got a little win’mill. Got a shack on it an’ a chicken run. Got a kitchen, orchard, cherries and nuts. They’s a place for alfalfa an’ plenty water to flood it, so you would get to tend ‘em rabbits!
Their dream starts simple with a cosy and sensual feel. The power of this dream is conveyed by Lennie’s childish sense of excitement and desire to look after the rabbits and the this desire grows on the reader by the amount of times Steinbeck has chosen to repeat the dream. Then the dream starts to become impossible; “ I could build a smoke house like the on’ gran’pa had. An’ when the salmon run up river we could catch a hundred of ‘em an’ smoke ‘em. ” This is the Promised Land that every man hopes for and this is the climax to the children’s story that George is telling to Lennie.
The dream is so powerful because this dream motivates Lennie to work to raise the money to make this dream come true. That’s when Candy joins in. “ Tha’s three hundred and fifty bucks I’d put in. ” The money that he in gets them even closer to making up the six hundred bucks which they need to buy the place. “ S’pose they was a circus or a ball game, or any damn thing. We’d just go to her; we wouldn’t ask nobody if we could. Jus’ say we’ll go to her. ” They can work when they want because there is no one telling them what to do.
The whole country was in The Great Depression at the time and the power of this dream is that it helps them to ignore or forget about this depression. Their dream gives George and Candy something to live for and hope for even though they know the dream isn’t possible. George admits, “ I think I knowed form the very first. I think I knowed we’d never do her. ” For George this doesn’t matter as he is more concerned with friendship freedom and independence rather than land or property and without Lennie George’s dream can’t come true, but for Lennie he is already in the dream and just likes having someone there for him.
Some of the characters in this book are just like the characters in The Wizard of Oz. This is an iconic American film, which represents some of the characters in Of Mice and Men and Steinbeck has shown the power of dreams through his characters, their language, their behaviour and their actions. All the disabled characters are coming together, down the yellow brick road, to a achieve something great, their dreams. Sometimes their dreams are achieved and sometimes they aren’t but it doesn’t matter because it gives them something to live up to and their friends are always with them along the way to get them through the ups and the downs.