The sense of an ending in the novel "Of Mice and Men" and how central this is to the book.

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“Of Mice and Men” Coursework

Explore the sense of an ending in the novel and how central this is to the book.

        In “Of Mice and Men”, Steinbeck built up a sense of an ending which is applied throughout the entire novel. For this he linked several and different aspects and characters which follow the story and make it successful.

        In this novel, the sense of an ending is showed by a few techniques the author used through the whole book.

Firstly, he makes the reader feel it is the end in the last chapter; he brings us back to the same place as in the first chapter in which the natural setting is similar : “Salinas River”, “deep pool”, “Gabilan mountains”, “among the sycamores”, it is like a cycle that finishes where it started. In the beginning of these both chapters, Steinbeck starts with a description of nature. But not only the setting is repeated. The content is as well resembling: Lennie's thoughts and Lennie and George's conversation mirror the opening: for example in both chapters they discuss about rabbits and about their dream ranch. However, these similarities actually emphasize the change that have been made with these persona through the story: in chapter one they had their great plan about the ranch and we feel they believed in it, and now in chapter six this plan seems to be left out.

This feeling of an end comes as well when George tells the ritual story, the dream, a last time: “We gonna get a little place […] We'll have a cow […] An' we'll have maybe a pig an' chickens [...]”. Unlike in the middle of the book, the lack of details in his speech gives us the sense it is the last time George tells this; it shows he doesn't believe in it anymore. Furthermore, we can feel in the way he speaks that something's wrong, he is very hesitating and he seems stressed and worried. This dream is very important to the novel because it is a narrative and narratives always have an ending.

Secondly, some symbols reveal we're close to the end. There is “Carlson's Luger” -which is actually the gun used to kill Candy's dog- and which George took just before going to see Lennie. This gives us the feeling of a death coming, in other words, the feeling of an end coming.

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There is also the death of Candy's dog because the author reflected Lennie's death to it: both characters were seen as a nuisance, they were smelly and miserable. On the other side, their “master”'s reaction are different and contradictory: for Candy's dog shooting, someone else had to do it instead of Candy. And just after agreeing to kill his dog, Candy went and “stared at the ceiling”. And this suggests a need of thinking, of being alone. But for Lennie's shooting, firstly George did it himself, and secondly he didn't want nor need to be alone, he actually went in ...

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