Dreams vs. Reality
The world is a deadly, unforgiving and often ironic place where people become all consumed by their surroundings. There are many occasions around the world in which people only care about themselves; for example on Black Friday people get pushed, hurt or even trampled because someone is trying to get the best deals before they are all gone. People have a tendency to lose sight of their goals and dreams. Mentally, people struggle to maintain their sanity in this game of life that has no set of rules.
In the book Of Mice and Men, this story portrays the inequality between people’s dreams and what can actually be accomplished. John Steinbeck, the author Of Mice and Men, utilizes his general themes of friendship and loneliness, through his deep characterization and connection between characters in order to illustrate “The American dream.” The American dream consists of the ideas of freedom, equality, and opportunity.
It also means life of individual contentment and material goods as usually wanted by Americans.
At the beginning of the novel, the relationship between Candy and the old dog was very close. Candy is very passionate about his dog and spoke proudly of him. “You wouldn’t think it to look at him now, but he was the best damn sheep dog I ever seen” (Steinbeck 44). The old dog lived in the bunk house with all the workers. He slept in the same bed as Candy, but the other workers did not like the old dog because he smelled terrible. Everyone liked Candy, but they wanted to kill the dog only because he smelled bad. After they killed the dog, Candy was lonely and isolated himself from the other workers. Candy’s American dream was not met because the old dog was killed by the fellow ranchers.
The old dog gave Candy unconditional love. When the old dog died, Candy’s dream died too. He wanted to live with the dog forever, his source of companionship and love was gone. In the novel, George and Lennie share the strongest bond. When George is talking to Lennie about why they are the loneliest guys in the world, he says: “Guys like us that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place. . . . With us it ain’t like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. We don’t have to sit in no bar room blowin’ in our jack jus’ because we got no place else to go. If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us” (Steinbeck 13-14). This example shows how George and Lennie’s friendship is more than most migrant workers.
George takes care of Lennie because Lennie is mentally disabled. If Lennie did not have George taking care of him, Lennie would certainly be taken advantage of by other people who don’t have the same moral standards as George. George’s American dream was for himself, Lennie, and Candy to have their own place to live. He wanted to have Lennie in his life because Lennie gave George absolute love. Aunt Clara had explained to Lennie that he could trust George to take care of him and to always listen to him and do what he says. Lennie’s disabilities are defined as him being slow; he needed George as a guardian. George was helped by Lennie’s hard work and physical strength, he was a valuable worker and his pay was going to help buy the land for the new place.
Lennie became involved with Curley’s wife and accidentally killed her. After this happened, the ranchers were going after Lennie. George wanted to protect Lennie from torture, so he killed Lennie himself by shooting him in the back of the head without Lennie’s knowledge. This ended their dreams. George would not have his place; Lennie would not have his rabbits. The harsh reality of their actions took away the desire to dream for anything better. The person who expresses his loneliness most openly is Crooks, the African- American stable hand, a victim of racial prejudice. Because of Crooks’ color, none of the other workers would socialize with him. When Lennie enters Crooks’ room uninvited, Crooks is angry and yells at Lennie asking him what his intentions are.
He is bullying Lennie because he jealous of the companionship between George and Lennie. He tries to hurt Lennie with lies of George deserting him, trying to make him see what it feels like to be so alone. Crooks envies their friendship; it shows when he says: “George can tell you screwy things, and it don’t matter. It’s just the talking. It’s just bein with another guy” (Steinbeck 67). Crooks is lonely, and he is trying to make himself feel better by putting Lennie in the same position as he is. Crooks’ American dream was not achieved nor moved back, he didn’t really have one. He just was living at the ranch and he would always get picked on because of his skin color and his disability. He wanted racial equality, but that was so unlikely to happen, Crooks refused to even hope for it. Because he had nothing to hope for, he is a grouchy, negative man with nothing to live for.
In Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck uses the themes of friendship and loneliness between characters to illustrate the “American Dream.” The characters: George and Lennie, Candy and the Old Dog, and Crooks are used to demonstrate how relationships work, and also the harsh differences between dreams and reality. In the end George decided to end Lennie’s life so that the other workers would not torture him and then kill him later. Finally, reality was stronger than all of their dreams.
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