We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Mice and Men by John Steinbeck Essay Sample

The whole doc is available only for registered users OPEN DOC
  • Pages:
  • Word count: 849
  • Category: writting

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all the help you need with your essay and educational goals.

Get Access

Mice and Men by John Steinbeck Essay Sample

A major motif of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men is the American dream and the drive to attain it. The life of a ranch hand is grim, yet the characters in the novel are still vulnerable to dreams of a better life. The dream of owning land, called the American dream by some, is what motivates George and Lennie in their work on the ranch. It is their friendship that sustains this dream and makes it possible. While the dreams are credible to the reader, in the end all dreams are crushed, and the characters are defeated by their circumstances.

The characters in Of Mice and Men have very little to look forward to as migrant ranch hands. They travel from ranch to ranch with all of their possessions in a bundle, looking for work for fifty dollars a month, and that work does not usually last very long. If a man is a good worker, he might be kept on at the ranch indefinitely and wind up as Candy does, old and crippled, just waiting until he is no longer useful. George explains the despair of a ranch hand to Lennie:

Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place. They come to a ranch an’ work up a stake and then they go inta town and blow their stake, and the first thing you know they’re poundin’ their tail on some other ranch. They ain’t got nothing to look ahead to. (Steinbeck 13-14)

Despite their destitute state, many of the characters in Of Mice and Men are prone to dream. George and Lennie dream of owning their own land, Candy and Crooks dream of joining them, and Curley’s wife dreams of becoming an actress. According to one critic, “The dream itself is the final possibility” (McCarthy 58).

The dream, however, cannot exist without friendship. This is most demonstrable in the relationship between George and Lennie. Without the other, neither character would be able to maintain the dream. Lennie is constantly asking George to “Tell about how it’s gonna be” (Steinbeck 14). The constant repetition of the way things will be is what keeps the dream alive in Lennie. However, George needs Lennie just as much as Lennie needs him, which is apparent at the end of the novel. When George kills Lennie, he also kills the friendship, which results in the death of the dream within himself. Friendship is an underlying factor in the dreams of others, as well. Candy and Crooks befriend George and Lennie when they learn of the possibility of owning land. They share the same dream as the two new workers, a dream that would have seemed impossible before the friendship began.

Throughout the novel, Steinbeck offers clues that lead the reader to believe that the dream will be fulfilled. Candy and Crook’s interest in George and Lennie’s dream is the main factor that causes the reader to believe that these two newcomers might actually succeed. Candy believes in the dream to the extent that he offers three hundred dollars that are needed to buy the land. Crooks, the Negro stable buck, adds to the effect. At first he is skeptical of George and Lennie’s plan: “Ever’body wants a little piece of lan’… Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land. It’s just in their head” (Steinbeck 74). However, when he learns of Candy’s offer to contribute almost all of the money needed for the land, he wants to join them. Candy and Crook’s desire to join George and Lennie is an important factor in “interrupting the pattern of inevitablity” and causing the reader to think that these characters might actually succeed in their dream (Lisca 138).

However, every character’s dream is eventually crushed, and each becomes a victim of his circumstances. Lennie’s tendency towards accidental violence causes the death of the dream for himself as well as for everyone else; no one could have prevented it. Furthermore, the characters who have invested the most in the dream are the ones that suffer the most when the dream escapes their grasp. Lennie, who is eventually killed by his best friend, was perhaps the most dependent upon the dream of owning land and tending the rabbits. George, who is forced to kill Lennie rather than leave him at the mercy of Curley, is almost as reliant on the dream as Lennie. Candy and Crooks have invested much less in the dream and, consequently, suffer less when it fails to reach fruition.

Dreams are a significant motif in Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. The author presents a couple of destitute workers driven by a single dream that seems unattainable. However, their friendship keeps the dream alive, and Steinbeck uses other characters to cause the reader to believe that they might actually succeed in their goals. Nevertheless, the dream is never fulfilled, and the characters who have counted on it the most are the ones who are the most devastated.

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

How to write an annotated bibliography?

Is there anything easier than to conclude a record of published sources you need to write a decent academic paper? But be aware of tricky moments. First of all, what is an annotated bibliography definition? A good annotated bibliography provides an arranged list of publications necessary for conducting diverse studies. As a rule, students have to indicate bibliographic data about the writer of the published...

Reflective journal writing skills

A reflective journal writing practice is employed to take notes and to remember significant things in an original manner. It’s your personal records which are supposed to be used to enhance your learning experience. This is a private space where you can write down your assumptions, observations, interesting ideas, concepts, necessary study details and some numerical information, statistics, diagrams or even drawings. You are allowed...

Response to paper

Response to Adrienne Rich Argument When I first looked over this book, I was hesitant at the point Rich was trying to prove. After reading the book a second time and looking deeper into the text, I realized how factual her points were. What really pushed me towards her side of the argument was the way she used her outside sources, and how closely they...

“Mountains Beyond Mountains” by Tracy Kidder

Tracy Kidder’s inspiring novel “Mountains Beyond Mountains” continuously uses metaphors and imagery to allow the reader to be capable to analyze the novel’s protagonist, Paul Farmer. Farmer is characterized as an honoring doctor who provides all his help and time to serve the poor in many countries. His goal is to end infectious disease and to provide all the medicine to those who need it...

War Poetry Conflict

Conflict is a main theme in war poetry as will be shown throughout this assessment. In ‘The Man He Killed’ By Thomas Hardy the speaker is a young soldier who has killed an enemy in the Boer War and is experiencing guilt and regret about his actions, as further on in the poem he considers him as a friend had they met under different circumstances...

Get Access To The Full Essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access

Become a member

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Can't find What you were Looking for?

Get access to our huge, continuously updated knowledge base

The next update will be in:
14 : 59 : 59
Become a Member