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Of Mice And Men

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The importance of this passage, which introduces the closing section of the novel, is that it refers to what has happened earlier in the story and what is about to happen. It represents symbolically the characters, events and ideas of the story so far and prefigures the final tragedy. The setting is the same as at the beginning of the novel, a clearing on the banks by 'the deep green pool' of the Salinas River. In the first paragraph Steinbeck conveys once more, now briefly, the beauty of the natural scene, the paradise from which mankind has been cast out. Now however the circumstances are very different and returning to the same setting suggests a circular movement of events, getting nowhere, but also as a downward spiral. ...read more.


Lennie's size and strength are insignificant, uselessly matched against much larger forces, such as the society he lives in. This reflects another theme of the novel: the powerful dominate and prey upon the weak. This is the situation of the migrant labourers, who own nothing but their ability to work, in relation to the Boss who has wealth and land and who exploits his labourers. It is reflected too in the 'pecking order' on the ranch: 'the weak ones' - Lennie, Crooks and Candy are at the mercy of the strong. Crooks dominates Lennie and Curley's wife dominates Crooks. Carlson, with Slim's consent, dispatches Candy's dog. Curly is ever present attempting to dominate everyone, except Slim, by physical violence and through his relation to his father. ...read more.


The passage reflects a number of ideas in the novel: the beauty of nature and the ugliness of human nature; the insignificance of human affairs; the futility of human effort and the fragility of dreams. The predatory nature of human existence, a major theme in the novel is represented symbolically in the action of the heron, reminding the reader of various episodes earlier in the story. The characters of George and Lennie are illustrated in the different fates of the two 'little snakes'. Lennie's death is prefigured in that of the first water snake, also in his spirit-like appearance on the scene. In this way Steinbeck sets the scene at the river bank in context. The reader sees the hopelessness of Lennie and George's situation, their powerlessness in the circumstances they find themselves in and foresees the tragic end. Sayan Dutta Chowdhury 10C ...read more.

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