How does George's reaction to the murder relate to his belief in the dream ?Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After he discovers the body of Curley's wife, Candy calls George into the barn.  Echoing Candy's exclamation, "Oh, Jesus Christ!" George kneels and places his hand over her heart.  When he stands up, stiffly and lethargically, "his face was as hard and tight as wood, and his eyes were hard."   Hopelessly, then, George says that he should have known that something would happen between Lennie and the flirtatious Curley's wife.  He and Candy confer about what to do; Candy asks,

"You an' me can get that little place, can't we, George?  You an'me can go there an'live nice, can't we, George?  Can't we?"

But, before George answers, the perceptive Candy knows that with Lennie the dream dies:

George said softly--"--I think I knowed from the very first.  I think I knowed we'd never do her.  He usta like to hear about it so much I got to thinking maybe we would."

Because Lennie is no longer going to be around him, the dream will go with Lennie since George only gave it some credibility as a result of the faith of Lennie.  Like the child that knows no better than to believe that his parent can accomplish feats above his/her ability, Lennie gave George some of his idealism. With Lennie's loss, so, too, is George's tenuous grasp on the "dream."