Living and dying on the Ranch
One of the key themes in Of Mice and Men is the
damage suffered by the men who work on the ranches.
The farm is functional and lacks comfort. It is made up of only
three buildings: the farmhouse, the bunkhouse and the barn.
The men have very few personal items and their lives lack
identity and meaning beyond work. As migrants most of the men
are homeless and have nothing more than the clothes they wear,
a few rather pathetic possessions and the few dollars they have
in their pockets.
Ranch life affects the men both physically and emotionally.
Crooks and Candy carry injuries sustained at the ranch and most
of the men are friendless and desperately lonely. The ranch is a
very masculine world of hard work, gambling and fighting and
new arrivals are treated with hostility.
Curley's wife dreamt of being a movie star, but when she was young her mother forbade her to pursue this career and as an alternative she married Curley. She loved attention and as she was lacking it, she constantly wandered about the farm asking for trouble. Then one day she got it, both hers and Lennie's dreams were shattered as soon as Lennie had killed her. But it went further than that, Candy's dreams of living on the farm with George and Lennie were crushed even though he was not involved in the incident. Because of one person's fault many people's dreams were destroyed. The characters in Of Mice and Men have helped to show that unrealistic dreams more often than not will cause tradgedies.
What is the theme in Of Mice and Men in Chapter 3? | eNotes
Most of the characters in Of Mice and Men admit, at one point or another, to dreaming of a different
life. Before her death, Curley’s wife confesses her desire to be a movie star. Crooks, bitter as he is,
allows himself the pleasant fantasy of hoeing a patch of garden on Lennie’s farm one day, and
Candy latches on desperately to George’s vision of owning a couple of acres. Before the action of
the story begins, circumstances have robbed most of the characters of these wishes. Curley’s wife,
for instance, has resigned herself to an unfulfilling marriage. What makes all of these dreams
typically American is that the dreamers wish for untarnished happiness, for the freedom to follow
their own desires. George and Lennie’s dream of owning a farm, which would enable them to sustain
themselves, and, most important, offer them protection from an inhospitable world, represents a
prototypically American ideal. Their journey, which awakens George to the impossibility of this
dream, sadly proves that the bitter Crooks is right: such paradises of freedom, contentment, and
safety are not to be found in this world.