Dreams Impossible: Hope in Of Mice and Men

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Hope-an illusion. Hope-something to be seen but never achieved. Hope-something to look forward to, never a reality. Reality comes from action, not wishes. Hope-a thing with feathers, flighty, beautiful, unreal. In both “Hope is the thing with feathers”, by Emily Dickinson, and Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, hope is portrayed as keeping up one’s spirit, and welcome when times are grueling, and sounding promising but not always making sense. Curley’s wife dreams of being a movie star, and this keeps her married, if unhappily, to Curley, but her dream is actually a delusion, and while promising much, never actually delivers. George and Lennie are sustained throughout their troubles by their dream of a farm and escape from the migrant worker’s life, and while it could have happened, Lennie kills Curley’s wife, thus making their dream impossible. The poem describes hope as a tangible thing that is constant in the soul, and attracts people to it, but isn’t based on reason.
In “Hope is the thing with feathers”, hope is heard in troubled times and warms the soul, but isn’t always rational. The poem says hope, “perches in the soul” (2). Hope is described as constant, and as an irrefutable part of us. But the ‘perching’ bird controls us, its ‘claws’ on our heart, and we feel compelled to never give up our dreams. Hope is also, “sweetest-in the Gale” (5). People cling to hope when life is hard, and hope is welcome when all else has failed. Hope comes to people anytime, anywhere. However pleasing hope is, it, “sings the tune without the words” (3). Hope is attractive, and promises much, but there are no words to back up the tune, and is mostly something to keep one’s soul going, not something that will ever amount to anything or deliver on its promises. It is alluring to gamble everything on hope, but in the end, there aren’t any ‘words’, and you’ll always lose. Anyone can be both warmed and deluded by hope.
For instance, Curley’s wife hopes to be a movie star, and this is her fantasy that occupies her time, and keeps her semi-content with Curley, but she deludes herself and could never actually go to Hollywood. Curley’s wife says she, “could of went with shows” (86). Her fantasy is to be famous, important, and rich. She thinks about this, and this keeps her from thinking about her terrible situation. She hopes so much to go to Hollywood, that this becomes a part ...

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...oesn’t have any words to back up. Without Lennie, George has no reason to dream, because Lennie asks George to it repeat the dream over and over, and keeps George thinking about how wonderful his dream is. Lennie is saving himself by keeping George focused on the dream, because without the dream, George would be a different person, and not see any reason for traveling with Lennie. Lennie binds George to reality, but reminds him of his hope.
The poem “Hope is the thing with feathers” states that hope is an ever-present force in one’s soul that sustains one through hard times, although it isn’t rational. This ideal of hope having ‘feathers’ and being the strength that keeps one going is seen throughout Of Mice and Men. Wishes sustain most of the characters, and although these dreams aren’t a concrete thing, they are still drawn to the possibility of a better life. Hope keeps people afloat in hard times, and gives them a reason for living. It’s best to view hope as the maiden in the tower-beautiful, yet unreachable. It’s something to aspire to, but hope can’t achieve anything without work. Hope is something everyone is drawn to, but is only hoping. Wishing doesn’t make things happen.
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