In Of Mice and Men, how does Steinbeck present that dreams are futile?what descriptive techniques does steinbeck use?what key quotes show this?

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scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Almost all of Steinbeck's characters in Of Mice and Men demonstrate the futility of the American Dream.  Obviously, George and Lennie's dream of owning a place of their own and being their own boss does not come true.  Steinbeck stresses the book's main theme by allowing George and Lennie to come within reach of their dream (Chapter 3--they have a place in mind and with Candy's interest in their ranch, they have the funding), and then pulling the dream away from them. 

Like George and Lennie, other characters (listed below) are unable to attain their dreams.

  • Curley's Wife dreamt of being a movie star, was noticed by someone, but married Curley instead.  She still believes that she will be able to get away from the ranch and realize her dreams, but her life is cut short by Lennie (Chapter 5).
  • Crooks still has a faint glimmer of hope that he will be able to escape the racial isolation of the ranch by joining George, Lennie, and Candy in their plan, but when Curley's Wife threatens him and brings him back to the reality of his situation, he gives up completely on his dream (Chapter 4).
  • Candy, like George and Lennie, dreams of having his own place and being useful, but Lennie destroys his dream too.