The American Dream is written into the Declaration
of Independence: "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Lennie and George's dream of owning a farm and living off the "fatta the lan" symbolizes this dream. Of Mice and Men shows that for poor migrant workers during the Depression, the American Dream became an illusion and a trap. All the ranch hands in Of Mice and Men dream of life, liberty, and
happiness, but none ever gets it.
Of Mice and Men takes its title from a famous lyric
by the Scottish poet Robert Burns. Burns's poem "To a Mouse" contains the lines, "The best laid plans of mice and men / Often go awry." Nearly all of the main characters Of Mice and Men harbour dreams and plans that never come true. Most notably, George, Lennie, and Candy share a doomed dream of buying their own farm and living off the land. George often laments the life he could have had as a freewheeling bachelor, free of the burden of caring for Lennie.
"If I was alone I could live so easy,"
Lennie has his own private dream of living in a cave with his own rabbits, while Curley's wife often regrets her missed chance to become a Hollywood actress.