The dream of the farm is a leitmotif, or repeated theme that threads throughout the novella. It is a place Lennie likes to go in his imagination, especially when he is feeling unhappy or anxious. However, he depends on George to provide the words for him.
In the quote below, the two men have recently arrived at the ranch. George is playing cards with the other men in the bunkhouse when Lennie brings up the dream farm. The quote below is powerful because George, in this instance, adds so much detail about the farm, describing it as a pastoral paradise:
"Well, it's ten acres," said George. "Got a little win'mill. Got a little shack on it, an' a chicken run. Got a kitchen, orchard, cherries, apples, peaches, 'cots, nuts, got a few berries. They's a place for alfalfa and plenty water to flood it. They's a pig pen-' ... "An' we could have a few pigs. I could build a smoke house like the one gran'pa had, an' when we kill a pig we can smoke the bacon and the hams, and make sausage an' all like that. An' when the salmon run up river we could catch a hundred of 'em an' salt 'em down or smoke 'em. We could have them for breakfast. They ain't nothing so nice as smoked salmon. When the fruit come in we could can it-and tomatoes, they're easy to can. Ever' Sunday we'd kill a chicken or a rabbit. Maybe we'd have a cow or a goat, and the cream is so God damn thick you got to cut it with a knife and take it out with a spoon."
The dream farm is a contrast to the life on the ranch, and George speaks directly in it to his own anxieties. The ranch makes him uneasy because he has already had a run-in with Curley, so he, like Lennie, is glad to retreat to the dream farm as a safe and idyllic spot.
George's imagination runs away with him as he describes the cornucopia of food the farm would offer, from salmon to fruit to nuts to ham and chickens. Notably, George describes it as a place that is the opposite to the ranch—a place where he'd have control over earning money, and where he and Lennie would "belong." This is a contrast to the uneasy feelings of not belonging that real life on the ranch brings up in him.
The dream farm represents the American dream, and most of the characters in the story respond to it warmly. It represents the autonomy, dignity, community, and prosperity that all the men yearn for.