The characters are rendered helpless by their isolation, and yet, even at their weakest, they seek to destroy those who are even weaker than they.
Perhaps the most powerful example of this cruel tendency is when Crooks criticizes Lennie’s dream of the farm and his dependence on George.
is a parable that tries to explain what it means to be human.
His friend Ed Ricketts shaped Steinbeck's thinking about man's place in the universe.
Having and sharing the dream, however, are not enough to bring it to fruition.
Each man must make a sacrifice or battle some other force that seeks, intentionally or not, to steal the dream away.
Crooks says, "A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody. After a long time they get mean." George's taking care of Lennie and the dream of the farm are attempts to break the pattern of loneliness that is part of the human condition.
Don't make no difference who the guy is, long's he's with you." Even Slim mentions, "I seen the guys that go around on the ranches alone. Similarly, Lennie's desire to pet soft things comes from his need to feel safe and secure, to touch something that gives him that feeling of not being alone in the world.
In sharing his vision of what it means to be human, Steinbeck touches on several themes: the nature of dreams, the nature of loneliness, man's propensity for cruelty, powerlessness and economic injustices, and the uncertainty of the future.
Nature of Dreams In essence, is as much a story about the nature of human dreams and aspirations and the forces that work against them as it is the story of two men.