Foreshadowing and Symbolism in of Mice and Men

Foreshadowing and Symbolism in of Mice and Men

  • Submitted By: fantasy1girl
  • Date Submitted: 02/12/2009 6:07 PM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 875
  • Page: 4
  • Views: 1987

Being merciful is to be compassionate to others. In a society so conscious of our own ambitions, compassion is difficult to find. Unexpected death is also prominent in today’s world, often turning up when we are most unaware. In Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck uses the literary devices of symbolism and foreshadowing to show the central themes of compassion and death.

After the long trek of life, we reach our demise. In the beginning, it is apparent to the readers, that the dead mouse in Lennie’s pocket is not just a trivial incident. The fact that anyone would keep a mouse stone dead in their pocket is chilling enough as it is. What also brings even more unease is that Lennie had not even intended to kill the creature, thus showing what would be possible in the future, but with greater consequences. In the middle of the book, Lennie had just been petting a puppy he had acquired from Slim, but out of over enthused efforts trying to quiet the puppy, he accidentally broke its neck. This is another instance that shows Lennie does not know his own strength, and that he could accidentally kill again. He also has an attraction to soft and fuzzy things, as they are his comfort. This presents a potential problem as there are many ’soft’ and ‘fuzzy’ creatures that, were he to forget his own strength, he could bring an end to. The two former events lead up to the death of Curley’s wife. Because Lennie likes to touch soft things, he touches Curley’s wife’s hair, who panics. Terrified of any repercussions, Lennie tries to silence Curley’s wife, but instead, accidentally breaks her neck. Death, so brief, can strike when you’re not watching.

When we hold out a hand to help, compassion, the redeeming quality of our race is portrayed. For example, in the beginning of the book, George kept Lennie at his side no matter what. By defending Lennie to other people, he shows that he does care about Lennie. Also, George knows that Lennie does not understand that people make fun of...

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