By discussing three characters other than George and Lennie, examine the clash between dreams and reality in the novel.
Candy: Candy is an old man when we encounter him the novel. He is disabled because of an accident that took his right hand years before. During the story his dog is killed because it is so old and nearly blind. When he hears George and Lennie discussing their plan to buy a place of their own, he gets caught up in their dream and convinces them to include him. He is just as excited about the prospect of owning his own place as they are. But when Lennie kills Curley’s wife, his dream dies.
Curley’s Wife: Curley’s wife, who has no other name in the book, once dreamed of being an actress. After marrying Curley and becoming disenchanted with life on the ranch, she talks of this dream often. She does not conceal her bitterness of giving up a dream that she believes would have led to a much more exciting life than what she now has.
Crooks: Crooks is the black stable buck. He too is disabled, with a severely curved spine. Because of his race, he is separated from the other ranch workers. When he talks to Lennie one day, he expresses his intense loneliness. When he learns that Candy and Lennie and George plan to get their own place, he starts to talk about possibly joining them, but Curley’s wife shows up and cruelly “puts him in his place” as a black man, after which Crooks tells them to forget what he said. He believes that it wouldn’t really be possible for him to escape the loneliness he has to live with.