The Elusive Nature of Dreams in of Mice and Men

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 619 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Words: 619|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Table of contents

  1. The American Dream
  2. The Illusion of Freedom
  3. The Impact of Failed Dreams
  4. Conclusion

Novella Of Mice and Men explores the complex and often elusive nature of dreams and their significance in the lives of individuals. The characters in the novel are driven by their desires and aspirations, yet their dreams are ultimately unattainable, leading to feelings of disillusionment and despair. This essay will analyze the theme of dreams in Of Mice and Men, examining the various characters’ dreams, the factors that hinder their realization, and the implications of failed dreams on the characters’ lives.

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The American Dream

One of the central themes in Of Mice and Men is the American Dream – the belief that through hard work and determination, anyone can achieve prosperity and success. This dream is particularly significant for George and Lennie, the two main characters in the novel, who share a vision of owning a piece of land and living off the fat of the land. George describes their dream in detail, painting a vivid picture of a self-sufficient life free from the constraints of wage labor.

However, the American Dream is ultimately unattainable for George and Lennie, as well as for other characters in the novel. Steinbeck portrays the harsh realities of the Great Depression era, where economic hardship and social inequality make it nearly impossible for individuals to achieve their dreams. The prevalence of poverty, discrimination, and exploitation serves as a formidable barrier to the characters’ aspirations, highlighting the futility of the American Dream in their circumstances.

The Illusion of Freedom

In Of Mice and Men, the notion of freedom is closely tied to the characters’ dreams. Many of the characters long for autonomy and independence, hoping to break free from the cycle of poverty and oppression. For instance, Candy, an aging ranch worker, dreams of joining George and Lennie in their plan to buy a piece of land, as he yearns for a sense of belonging and security in his old age.

However, the illusion of freedom is shattered by the harsh realities of the characters’ lives. The lack of financial resources, the prevalence of discrimination, and the fragile nature of human relationships all contribute to the characters’ inability to achieve true freedom. Steinbeck’s portrayal of the characters’ thwarted attempts to attain freedom underscores the pervasive sense of hopelessness and resignation that permeates the novel.

The Impact of Failed Dreams

The failure to realize their dreams has a profound impact on the characters in Of Mice and Men. George and Lennie’s dream of owning a piece of land serves as a beacon of hope in an otherwise bleak world, providing them with a sense of purpose and direction. When this dream is shattered, the characters are left feeling disillusioned and despondent, grappling with a profound sense of loss.

Moreover, the characters’ failed dreams contribute to a pervasive sense of alienation and isolation. Steinbeck portrays the characters as being adrift in a world that is indifferent to their aspirations, highlighting the profound loneliness and disconnection that result from unfulfilled dreams. This sense of alienation is particularly evident in the character of Crooks, the African American stable hand, whose dreams of equality and acceptance are continually thwarted by the pervasive racism of the era.

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In conclusion, the theme of dreams in Of Mice and Men serves as a powerful commentary on the human condition, highlighting the inherent fragility and elusiveness of our aspirations. Through the characters’ unattainable dreams, Steinbeck underscores the profound impact of economic hardship, social inequality, and discrimination on individuals’ lives. The novel ultimately conveys a poignant message about the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity, as well as the enduring power of hope in the midst of despair.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

The Elusive Nature of Dreams in of Mice and Men. (2024, March 20). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from
“The Elusive Nature of Dreams in of Mice and Men.” GradesFixer, 20 Mar. 2024,
The Elusive Nature of Dreams in of Mice and Men. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 May 2024].
The Elusive Nature of Dreams in of Mice and Men [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 20 [cited 2024 May 21]. Available from:
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