Of Mice and Men on the American Dream

1350 words 6 pages
Of Mice and Men: The American Dream Quote #1: "I remember about the rabbits, George.""The hell with the rabbits. That’s all you can ever remember is them rabbits." (1.18-19) |
This is the first mention we have of the American dream. Even from the introduction, it seems Lennie is more excited than George about the prospect. George’s easy dismissal of "them rabbits" makes it seem as though he thinks the whole thing is silly. This will get more difficult as we realize that George might be as excited about the dream as Lennie; it seems he is just more cautious about that excitement, given that he’s more knowledgeable than his companion. Quote #2: "Well, we ain’t got any," George exploded. "Whatever we ain’t got, that’s what you want. God
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We’d jus’ live there. We’d belong there. There wouldn’t be no more runnin’ round the country and gettin’ fed by a Jap cook. No, sir, we’d have our own place where we belonged and not sleep in no bunk house." (3.202-203) |
The bottom line of the dream for George is not the absence of work, or the easy living, or even having a lot of money. It is simply grounded in having some place to belong to him and Lennie and Candy. Quote #5: When Candy spoke they both jumped as though they had been caught doing something reprehensible. (3.212) |
Dreams are delicate things in the real world, and George and Lennie have always carefully kept their plan a secret. Faced with the gaze of someone from the outside world, the men seem ashamed. The real world they live in would never allow or look kindly upon such a trifle as their dream, precious as it is to them. Quote #6: They fell into a silence. They looked at one another, amazed. This thing they had never really believed in was coming true. (3.221) |
On one hand, this could be amazing. On the other hand, we’re suddenly forced to ask whether the dream isn’t better off as a dream, something they can believe and imagine that’s bigger and better than any reality. One might argue that when Candy gets close to George and Lennie, he spoils the dream of the farm by making it a genuine possibility (and ironically, something that could be a disappointment), rather than an ongoing and eternal


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