Of Mice And Men By John Steinbeck

2622 words - 11 pages

The American Dream is an impractical feat to seize. In John Steinbeck’s novel, Of Mice and Men, two best friends discover the hardships of the Great Depression in Salinas Valley, California. George is a short, intelligent, hard worker. The foil to George’s character is his best friend, Lennie, who is tall, unintelligent, and mentally challenged. Lennie is holding George back from achieving the American Dream. As the novella continues, different views of individual’s dreams are revealed. Steinbeck uses a variety of themes throughout the novella but they all relate to the main theme; that the American Dream is unachievable.
Of Mice and Men uses an array of literary devices to relate to the theme that the American Dream is unachievable. Symbolism is the use of intangible or imaginable objects to symbolize a greater meaning. One example of symbolism used in this novella is when Lennie asks George to tell him about the farm. Lennie pleads, “’Tell about what we’re gonna have in the garden and about the rabbits in the cages and about the rain in the winter and the stove and how thick the cream is on the milk and how you can hardly cut it. Tell about that George’” (Steinbeck 63). This quote shows how symbolic rabbits are for Lennie. Lennie’s dream is to have soft things to pet and the bunnies symbolize his dream of soft animals. This quote also shows George’s dream of owning a farm and growing his own crops in the garden. Just like the farm, Candy’s dog has a significant symbolic meaning throughout the novella. “The old man squirmed uncomfortably. ‘Well-hell! I had him so long. I had him since he was a pup. I herded sheep with him…he was the best damn sheep dog I ever seen’” (Steinbeck 56). This quote is symbolic to George and Lennie’s relationship. George talks about how strong Lennie is and how long they have been traveling together as partners. This demonstrates their companionship, which is said to be part of the American Dream. These all show the desires of George and Lennie to live the American Dream, but the inevitability of failing to reach it. Steinbeck also uses foreshadowing to relate back to the main theme that the American Dream is unachievable.
Another main literary device Steinbeck uses in this novella is foreshadowing. Foreshadowing is a warning or an indication of a future event. An example of foreshadowing is when George says, “I want you to stay with me, Lennie. Jesus Christ, somebody’d shoot you for a coyote if you was by yourself” (Steinbeck 13). This foreshadows near the end of the novella when Curley and the rest of the workers are out chasing Lennie, as a group would be out hunting a coyote. Another major example of foreshadowing is when Candy says, “I ought to of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn’t ought to of let no stranger shoot my dog” (Steinbeck 61). This quote shows that George has to kill Lennie at the end of the novella. Unlike Candy and his dog, George decides that he must be the one who kills Lennie. He tells...

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