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How does the first section of the novella `Of Mice and Men` prepare the reader for the rest of the novella?

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Introduction

How does the first section of the novella prepare the reader for the rest of the novella? The first section of the novella "Of Mice and Men" prepares the reader for what will happen throughout the rest of the novella. The book starts with a description of the natural world, and the final paragraph of the first section is also a description of the natural world. This has been done to show that Steinbeck has used cyclical structure to show that little progression has been made by characters in the novella. The final paragraph of the novella is also a description of the natural world to emphasize this point. Steinbeck has used many literary techniques in this first section of the novella, including language, characterisation and setting. Similes are used for extra description and to add more meaning to the descriptive setting, "the rabbits sat as quietly as little gray, sculptured stones." From the very beginning, the two main characters are represented in ways that foreshadow the rest of the novella. ...read more.

Middle

"Only the tops of the Gabilan Mountains flamed with the light of the sun that had gone from the valley." Steinbeck uses light to represent hope and the theme of receding light is represented throughout the novella. This is foreshadowed, as here there is peace and contentment. Lennie's obsession with rabbits helps to prepare the reader for the rest of the novella. The mention of rabbits is repeated numerous times throughout the novella. This foreshadows the dream world of George and Lennie, in which Lennie hopes to be able to tend to the rabbits when they live on their 'imaginary' ranch. However, it is ominous when it says, "the rabbits hurried noiselessly for cover". The verb "hurried" is used as rapid depreciation of George and Lennie's luck. The mention of the heron, "a stilted heron laboured up into the air and pounded down river", mirrors the end of the novella, when a heron kills and eats the water snake which signalled the near death of Lennie. ...read more.

Conclusion

"Heavily" and "dragging, both words of distress, are ominous. Lennie's "snorting into the water like a horse" suggests his simple mind and animalistic features. Lennie's complete and utter incompetence and clumsiness foreshadows what will occur in the rest of the novella. "The first man stopped short in the clearing, and the follower nearly ran over him". This hints at the relationship of the two men, and Lennie's inability to be remotely independent. Lennie's crude behaviour can foreshadow later events. "Flung himself down and drank from the surface of the green pool." The green suggests impure water, which hints at potential danger and harm to Lennie later on in the novella. "The small man stepped nervously beside him". This mirrors the end of the novella when George is nervously beside Lennie before shooting him. The adverb "nervously" is ominous. The reader should be feeling nervous whilst anticipating what will happen. All the above are ways in which Steinbeck prepares the reader for what will happen throughout the rest of the novella. He very cleverly hints and foreshadows various events throughout this opening section, which all have some deeper meaning into the plot. ...read more.

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