Theme – Hope and Dreams

Hope and Dreams
By Dan and Maddie
In Of Mice and Men- Hope and Dreams are a main theme in the
book. ‘The best laid schemes of Mice and Men, gang aft agley
(often go wrong) and leave us nought but grief and pain, for
promised joy’- this was the poem that came from Scottish writer
Robert Burns. John Steinbeck liked the idea of this, and with his
fascination for migrant workers, thought it would fit well as a title
for the book. The poem touches on the idea that everybody
dreams of having something, in the book’s case- a ranch and farm
with everything on it- but it normally turns out to be just a
Curley’s wife
• Curley’s wife dreams of being an actress. “’Nother time I met
a guy, an’ he was in pictures. Went down to the Riverside
Dance Palace with him. He says he was gonna put me in the
movies. Says I was a natural. Soon’s he got back to Hollywood
he was gonna write to me about it.”
• Curley’s wife’s hope was to become an actress, but her real
dream was to be actually recognized as a person and to have
attention from people, because women back in the 1930’s
were only useful for chores and cooking, they weren’t viewed
as anything else. This is why Steinbeck has called the
character ‘Curley’s wife’ because everybody only viewed her
as Curley’s wife never as another person, just somebody’s
• Crooks dreams about his childhood and being on his father’s
chicken ranch. “I was born right here in California. 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. My ol’ man didn’t like that. I
never knew til long later why he didn’t like that.”
• Crook’s significant chapter is in chapter 4 when he talks to
Lennie. He talks to Lennie because Lennie is so childlike and
forgets most information so Crooks believes he can confide in
• Crooks is also interested in George and Lennie’s dream briefly
as he sees it as the closest thing he could do to get his dream,
“…if you...guys would want a hand to work for nothing- just
his keep, why I’d come an’ lend a hand. I ain’t so crippled I
can’t work like a son-of-a-bitch if I want to.”
• Crooks was sceptical about the dream at first but got
gradually pulled into the dream as they went along, but then
Curley’s wife came in and shot his pride down and made him
believe that he’s worth nothing, so he pulled out of it to retain
some dignity.
George, Lennie and Candy
• George, Lennie and Candy all dream about finally one day
fulfilling the dream of having their own land & ranch. “They
fell into a silence. They looked at one another, amazed. This
thing they had never really believed in was coming true.
George said reverently, ‘Jesus Christ! I bet we could swing her.’
His eyes were full of wonder. ‘I bet we could swing her.’ He
repeated softly.” This is the moment when they finally realize
that they actually could make the dream a reality and that
George and Lennie may finally have something to live for in
their lives.
The American Dream
• George and Lennie’s dream links to the 1930’s because most
migrant workers would want a ranch and to be able to work
for themselves. They would be able to do whatever they
wanted and would only have to answer to themselves.
• This in essence is what the American Dream was all about,
and it was this dream that drove most people and forced
them to travel around America looking for work, hoping that
one day they would achieve the American Dream.
• However, because of the Wall Street Crash and the Great
Depression, society was troubled and in ruins and the
economy was worthless, both of which made the possibility of
achieving the American Dream impossible; meaning no one
actually realised their dreams; they were pointless and futile.
Why were dreams important?
• Dreams were important because in the 1930’s nobody had
any money so the dream to have money was important as it
made you feel that you had some power in you. It gives them
something to aim for and keeps them going through the days.
It gave them motivation and drive.
• The dreams of people in the 30’s and in Of Mice and Men
were optimistic and would take years to complete; they never
actually had a chance of reaching their dream. Their life as a
migrant worker is repetitive as they aim for a dream but they
end up where they first were, having gone round in a circle.
Why were dreams important?
• Dreams give people hope by making them think that they
could have a better life and that at the end of the day they will
be better off.
• Hope keeps the migrants going because without hope they
would feel worthless and like life wasn’t worth living.

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