To What Extent Does Steinbeck Portray Dreams as Futile in ‘of Mice and Men’?
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To what extent does Steinbeck portray dreams as futile in ‘Of Mice and Men’?
In Of Mice and Men, the hopes and dreams of the men on the ranch are a continuous focus and theme throughout the novel. John Steinbeck portrays the effects that dreams, or lack of them, have on the lives of the characters and the outcome of the novel. Steinbeck uses the concept of dreams at once to show hope and aspiration, as they invoke companionship with united determination for a better future, and to illustrate the difficulties of survival, with unrealised dreams illuminating the dark despair of society at that time.
Steinbeck presents dreams as a tool to aid the men of the ranch’s survival and happiness. They give a sense of purpose, a reward for long days…show more content… Also, ‘the sun threw a bright dust-laden bar through one of the side windows’, this represents that the little hope in the bunk house only helps to further illuminate the darkness and harshness of society. In a setting, such as the ranch, where dreams are suppressed and suffocated, they take on a greater importance and significance to the mens lives, they rely on the dreams to get by.
In the novel Curley’s Wife is portrayed as a source of trouble and danger for the men, not only in how she is described, such as ‘Curley’s married a tart’, but also in how Steinbeck portrays her affect on light and hope. Lennie and George first come across Curley’s wife when ‘the rectangle of sunshine in the door way was cut off. A girl was standing there looking in’. She is blocking one of the only light sources into the bunkhouse, which indicates that she is an obstacle on the path to realising hopes and dreams, for Lennie, George and the other men. George is wary of Curley’s Wife and so he warns Lennie ‘ Well you keep away from her, ‘cause she’s a rat trap ’. He suspects that someday she will cause Lennie to get into trouble, thus making it harder to reach their dreams. In the barn towards the end of the novel when Lennie kills Curley’s Wife, ‘ the sun streaks were high on the wall...and the light was growing soft ’. In this situation the light represents her hopes and dreams