Steinbeck wrote the novel 'Of Mice and Men' in 1937, setting it in the 1930s. This was a point where many people's livelihoods were shattered during The Great Depression, leaving many people to become itinerant workers, a dream of a better life was the only personal thing thing they had to remind them to stay hopeful. Steinbeck uses the concept of The American Dream during the novel, which originated from the migration to America in search of a better life. Steinbeck's portrayal of dreams in 'Of Mice and Men' suggests that the American Dream is and empty fantasy that can never become a reality.
Almost every character in the book has a strong dream that reminds them they still have a chance in life. The dominant dream throughout the novel is that of George and Lennie. It is a simple dream and consists of a plot of land that would be theirs alone and it would give them a chance to 'live offa the fat o' the lan'.' However, both men want different things from that one dream. For Lennie, the dream means that he will spend most, if not all his time with George. This offers him a sense of security as George is the only person who fully understands him and his actions. Steinbeck establishes the bond that Lennie and George share through their dream early in the book when Lennie says to George 'I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you.' This quotation shows the simplicity that Lennie yearns for. All he wants is to be with George. The dream also gives Lennie a chance to prove to George that he is capable of carrying out simple jobs and this gives him a sense of responsibility, even if he only does 'tend the rabbits.' The rabbits also give him a chance to 'pet nice things' which is often what keeps him happily occupied throughout the novel.