Explore how dreams and dreaming affect individual characters in the novel. Remember to consider how the American Dream is represented in your answer. In the novel most of the characters have a dream. Each of the characters seem to have a sense of loneliness in each of their lives and their dreams are the things that keep them hoping for something better than their lives on the ranch. Lennie’s dream for one is based on his childlike personality, he wants to be with George and ‘tend to the rabbits’.
At every point in the novel where he believes his dream will be compromised you see him fill with rage and throw a tantrum like a child would. When something goes wrong his brain comes back to the rabbits and how he can’t bear to loose his dream, this drives him to try and cover up or runaway from his wrongful acts. Lennie’s dream is tied to George’s and without George his dream is very unlikely to happen. Moving onto George, at first it seems his dream is based on leaving Lennie to live his life as he chooses but as the novel progresses it becomes clear that he shares a dream with Lennie.
This would be to ‘have a little house’ and ‘live off the fatta the lan’ and in this dream Lennie gets to ‘tend to the rabbits’. Compared to Lennie’s very childlike outlook on their dream George is very practical in his way of thinking for example his dream includes having ‘a cow and some pigs’ and ‘have a big vegetable patch and a rabbit hutch and chickens’ so that they can ‘live off the fatta the lan’. A lot of the men in the novel that move from place to place often dream of having their own place, something that can belong to them and being their own boss.
George is possibly the only person that gets close to his dream being achieved with a little help from Candy. Another character with a dream is Curley’s wife, who wants to be ‘in the movies’. Her dream is based upon naivety and how she is very easily led to believe things. On two occasions she has been fooled into this way of thinking once when she ‘was a kid’ and a show came to town and ‘one of the actors. He says I could go with the show’ but her mother wouldn’t allow it. On the second occasion she ‘met a guy, an’ he was in pitchers’ and was told ‘he was gunna put me in the movies.
Says I was a natural. Soon’s he got back to Hollywood he was gunna write to me about it. ’ She never received a letter and blames it on her mother once again, the way she talks about it is though she knows that it wasn’t going to happen but can’t bear admitting it so she makes her mother the scapegoat. Also she talks about her dream as though it’s in the past and wont progress any further than that. Candy and Crooks both dream of not being alone and a better life away from the ranch which is ultimately the true ‘American Dream’.
Most of the conflicts that happen in the novel can be blamed upon the so called ‘American Dream’ when the dream world and reality collide. The American Dream contradicts itself by claiming it will do thing, for example equality when in reality Curley’s wife and Crooks are shown to have next to no presence on the ranch just because she is a woman and he is black. By the end of the novel it become clear to George that bitter Crooks is correct, his dream will never be achieved. Overall the novel highlights the impossibility of the ‘American Dream’ ever being achieved. In the end not one person has achieved their dream.