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Animal imagery is a prominent and extremely important device in the novel.

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Introduction

Animal imagery is a prominent and extremely important device in the novel. Of Mice and Men is a great novel written by John Steinbeck, a Nobel Prize-winning author. Based on Steinbeck's own experiences at the time, it tells the sad story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two migrant workers who learn to look out for one another during the Great Depression in Salinas, California. For the duration of the tale, Steinbeck makes references to animals and their significance, both through symbolism and reflecting character's personalities. The mice, the rabbits and the dogs are three important recurring animal images in the novel. Mice have a crucial importance in the novel, as well as Lennie's relationship with the mice. Firstly, Lennie likes to feel soft things, and his obsession with with petting mice grants him with security and comfort. Even if the animal is lifeless, Lennie still pets it to comfort it as well as to comfort himself. ...read more.

Middle

Firstly, they are the only thing that Lennie does not seem to forget. Every time he asks George to tell him the story of their little house, he always mentions the rabbits, as if without the rabbits on their land, even if they would have a place they can call their own, it would not be the same. Secondly, the rabbits that Lennie hopes to have and care for give George control over him. Lennie's happiness is based on his hopes for this land, so he will be able to tend his rabbits. Knowing this, George constantly threatens him with not allowing him to tend the rabbits if he does not behave and follow his orders. George tells Lennie '' if you do [get in trouble], I won't let you tend to the rabbits,'' (p.17). This becomes Lennie's motivation to behave and to watch what he does. ...read more.

Conclusion

He also does not think about the consequences of his actions. Steinbeck's comparisons between Lennie and animals, like dogs, bears, and horses, reinforce the impending sense of doom. Secondly, Candy's dog has a great importance in the novel as well. His death is linked to the death of Lennie because this dog represents the fate awaiting anyone that becomes no longer useful. In other words, anyone who outlives his or her purpose will be put out, one way or another. The dog's death brings out a major fear in Candy. He himself is nearing an age when he will no longer be useful on the ranch and therefore will no longer be welcomed there either. Finally, Lennie's puppy is one of several symbols that demonstrate the victory of the strong over the weak. Lennie kills the puppy unintentionally, as he has killed many mice before, for the plain reason that he does not recognize his own strength. Animals in the novel, from mice to rabbits to dogs, all die untimely deaths and have an intense significance. ...read more.

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