How does the rest of chapter 5 develop a reader's understanding of the theme of dreams?

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lennie and George have a dream of owning their own farm. Lennie constantly asks George to "tell him about the rabbits" and George is often annoyed but usually humors Lennie and tells him about how they will someday achieve this dream. This dream keeps them going, keeps them working, and gives them something positive to look forward to. Without this goal, their existence is miserable. Without this goal, they have a life of wandering from job to job, trying to avoid the trouble that Lennie gets into, and making just enough money to survive. The dream gives them a reason to hope. 

Curly's wife also had dreams and still has some hope for herself. She tells Lennie she had a chance to become a Hollywood actress. She says, "Coulda been in the movies, an' had nice clothes--all them nice clothes like they wear. An' I coulda sat in them big hotels, an' had pitchers took of me." She feels trapped in her marriage with Curly. In this way, Curly's wife, Lennie, and George are similar. They all have dreams of a better life. And this is perhaps what makes their actual lives bearable. 

After Curly's wife shares her hopes and dreams, Lennie shares his dream again. He tells her about the rabbits and their plan to have their own farm. "We gonna have a house an' a garden and a place for alfalfa, an' that alfalfa is for the rabbits, an' I take a sack and get it all fulla alfalfa and then I take it to the rabbits." When Lennie accidentally kills her, her dreams are destroyed. Lennie is on the run again and back to square one, his dream always eluding him because of the trouble he gets into.