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Write an analysis of the opening chapter of Of Mice and Men. How effective is it at introducing the characters, themes and events of the novel?

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Introduction

Write an analysis of the opening chapter of Of Mice and Men. How effective is it at introducing the characters, themes and events of the novel? The opening chapter in Of Mice and Men is important because it gives us hints on what is to come later. The novel starts by Steinbeck describing a calm soothing mountainside, then two men emerge; George and Lennie. They break the peace, the animals scatter and the two men make quite a bit of noise. Steinbeck is telling us that everything is alright, but then these two men come along and ruin everything; this is important later on as George and Lennie end up at this same place at the end of the novel, this is where their dream ends. It plays a significant part in the novel. George, the first character to be introduced, is described as a "small and quick, dark of face" man with "restless eyes and sharp strong features". This tells us that he is an intellectual man, who is presumably the leader. However, the second man Lennie is described as completely his opposite, a "huge man, shapeless of face, with large, pale eyes, with wide, sloping shoulders". This gives us the impression he is quite a large man, and is tired, maybe from walking a long distance. ...read more.

Middle

Throughout the novel, we discover something that happened during George and Lennie's past. It appears to be something Lennie has done, and has made George rather frustrated as it means having to move from place to place. In the opening chapter, by the fire when George and Lennie are eating beans, Lennie says it would be better to have ketchup with his beans. This makes George mad, as he thinks his life would be better without Lennie and he starts blaming Lennie for keep having to move around the country as he keeps doing "bad things" and getting "in trouble", and George has to help him out. In weed, which was where George and Lennie left when the novel starts, they had to leave because of something Lennie did. He started stroking the dress of a woman there because it was soft; the woman misunderstood Lennie's intentions and started panicking. Lennie, not understanding what's happening or what to do holds on and rips the dress, the woman starts screaming and runs away. George and Lennie are then chased after a group of men who think Lennie has tried to rape this woman. They then flee to California to find work elsewhere. This is important to the events surrounding the death of Curley's wife as they seem to repeat themselves near the end of the novel on page 90. ...read more.

Conclusion

When he shoots Lennie, he does it with the best intentions and love. Also, he distracts Lennie and makes his death as quick as possible. Lennie's final moments are of his and George's dream and Lennie being able to tend the rabbits. When George threatens Lennie about him not being able to tend the rabbits if he gets in to trouble, he does it this way as it is the only way Lennie is going to understand it. With Lennie's child-like state, he cares about the rabbits and doesn't understand that he is twice the size of George and could hurt him if he wanted too. In conclusion, the first chapter is extremely important. It gives you some idea of what is to come throughout the novel and plays a big part in the final "chapter". After reading the first chapter, it does leave you asking some questions. Such as what's going to happen to George and Lennie when they arrive at the ranch, as something happened in Weed and this is where they are running away from and also George told Lennie to come back to the side of the river in case anything happened. You are also left wondering what becomes of their dream to have their own ranch someday and what problems may arise. ?? ?? ?? ?? Asadullah Haider English Coursework Page 1 ...read more.

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