Theme Of Hope In The Novel Of Mice And Men
Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men takes place during the Great Depression in America which has an effect on the characters lifestyle and dreams. Steinbeck portrays the hopes of many people during these times through different characters: for example, the typical American dream which is shown through the two main characters, George and Lennie. Steinbeck also shows the troubles being a black person during these times can bring, through Crooks (the black stable buck.) Additionally, Steinbeck illustrates how much harder it was for a woman to pursue their dreams in 1930’s America, through the character Curley’s wife. The American Dream is presented as being unattainable in John Steinbeck’s novel, Of Mice and Men. This is predominantly evident in the case of George, Lennie, Crooks and Curley’s wife.
Hope is something many character in Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men experience. Steinbeck portrays hope with George and Lennie’s American dream. Steinbeck shows this multiple times in the form of dialogue. On page 27 of the digital version George delivers this line: “”Well, it’s ten acres,” said George. “Got a little win´mill. Got a little shack on it, an´a chicken run. Got a kitchen, orchard, cherries, apples, peaches, ´cots, nuts, got a few berries. They´s a place for alfalfa and plenty water to flood it..” An´rabbits, George”” here we can see that George describes the house by memory. This shows that he has said this to Lennie multiple times. Lennie also talked about rabbits. We know from previous events in the book that Lennie has a bad/short memory so him being able to remember that he is going to tend the rabbits again means that George has told this story a lot. All of this points to that George and Lennie dreams/hopes to live the American dream someday. Just like George and Lennie’s hope of living the American dream, Crooks also hopes in some way of living the American dream.
Crooks hopes and dreams of being better and more equally treated than what he is currently. Steinbeck gives the readers of “of mice and men” a lot of hints that you have to read between the line to catch. An example of this is on page 33 of the digital copy: “”You go on get outa my room. I ain’t allowed in the bunkhouse, and you ain’t allowed in my room.” Why ain’t you wanted?” Lennie asked. “Cause I’m black. They play cards in there, but i can’t play because I’m black. They say I stink. Well, I tell you, you all of you stink to me.”” Crooks expresses that he is mad but also jealous of the other men when he says that they stink and that they don’t let him play cards with them. It is understandable that Crooks wants to be equally treated. But Crooks probably doesn’t only dream of being like the other men on the ranch. Maybe he wants to go and find a better job that he enjoys more. Steinbeck shows us that his living condition isn’t the best and that he works very hard as a stable buck. Crooks probably dreams that he could leave the ranch and find a higher paying job or a job that he would enjoy more. He doesn’t do this because he knows that as a black man during these times he would have it way harder to find a job, especially during the Great Depression. You can draw similar lines between Crooks’s dream of leaving the ranch with Curley’s wife’s dreams.
Curley’s wife hopes to become a famous actor/performer one day but she knows that for everyday that passes her chances of this becomes smaller. On page 44 of the digital copy a dialogue between Curley’s wife and Lennie goes like this: “”Well, I ain’t told this to nobody before. Maybe I oughten to. I don’ like Curley. He ain’t a nice fella.” And because she had confided in him, she moved closer to Lennie and sat beside him. “Coulda been in the movies, an’ I coulda have nice clothes- all the nice clothes like they wear.”” Curley’s wife really describes how she feels like she missed out on the chance to become a moviestar. You can sense that she has thought plenty times of leaving Curly and following this dream. She describes all the things she could have been and all the things could’ve had which shows that she has, just like George and Lennie, though about this dream multiple times. I can imagine that talking to someone about this probably feels nice since she can’t talk about this with Curly. She probably even hopes to become friends with someone, like Lennie. In the quote she trusted Lennie enough to tell him about this, which further proved the point that she hopes to find a friend on the farm.
In conclusion, Steinbeck uses hope as a main theme in his novel, this is demonstrated through his well put together characters.
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