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How does John Steinbeck use animals in 'Of Mice And Men'?

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How does Steinbeck use animals in Of Mice And Men? By Jamie McGookin, 11S For the duration of Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck makes references to animals and animal behaviour in portraying the characteristics of the characters. Not only does he do this, but also uses actual animals as a medium in which to show emotions and symbolisms. It is this theme which I plan to explore in this short essay. In the title of the book, Steinbeck chose to mention mice, taken from part of a poem by Robbie Burns, who wrote: 'The best laid plans of mice and men Gang aft aglee and leave us naught But grief and pain for promised joy'. This is quite apt considering what happens in the book and it could be said that the book revolves around the poem. ...read more.


It is strange that rabbits are mentioned both in nature and in converse dialogue in the same section. However, it is not so much the rabbits that Lennie is looking forward to, but the dream of something better, his ideal world. George takes it upon himself to ground Lennie, bringing him back to reality. Their relationship is complex and we only get glimpses of their history together. This technique is used by the author so that the reader can come up with their own interpretations. Lennie is described further on "dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws", creating imagery that Lennie is like a bear. When the majority of people hear the word 'bear', they immediately think 'vicious', 'ferocious', or even 'wild'. ...read more.


When Candy is bullied into having his dog shot due to it's annoyance of others on the farm, it is the separation of a connection to the past, a tie that has been severed. Around the same time, Slim's dog gives birth and puppies are introduced into the world. The killing of Candy's dog is a determined action to begin to erase the old and to celebrate for the future. It could be said that this is reflected in the American Dream that happened during the Great Depression. The characters in Of Mice And Men are all working towards a goal or aspiration. George and Lennie realize this when they arrive at the ranch and they see that what they have now is a fresh start. A chance to clear their past and work towards the future. ...read more.

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  1. How does John Steinbeck use animals in "Of Mice and Men"?

    Candy has had this dog since he was young, he "had him from a pup" and "had him too long." This is why Candy does not wish to "put the dog out of his misery." Many incidents in the novel hint at the ending making the novel more interesting for the reader.

  2. Why I think Candy was added by John Steinbeck to his book

    The link between the "old swamper" Candy, and the "old dog" is obvious. Both, Candy and the dog are old. Especially Slim hurts Candy, when he says that he "wisht somebody'd shoot" him if he gets "old". Through this description, Steinbeck tries to simplify the circumstances for the reader.

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