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Dreams are what keep these men going. The life of an itinerant migrant worker was lonely and isolating. They had to hang on to something that gave them hope of a better life. The main characters in the story (Candy, Lennie, George, Crooks) all have a common dream. Their dreams all revolve around a place to call home and people to call friends or even family. This dream, of course, does not come to fruition, and indeed Steinbeck seems to have designed his bleak world to preclude the possibility of escape from the cycles of loneliness and hollow companionship (whether found in drink, in prostitutes, in gambling) that come with financial hardship and dislocation.