Of Mice And Men

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade October 2001

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"Of Mice and Men" In "Of Mice and Men" John Steinbeck uses animal imagery to describe Lennie and links the death of Lennie to the killing of Candy's dog. Candy has a dog that is very old, smells bad, and is useless. George has Lennie and he is very strong, but very slow mentally and always gets George into trouble. Candy is unable to kill his dog, which he later regrets, but George knows he must kill Lennie.

Steinbeck uses animal imagery to describe Lennie in the book "Of Mice and Men." Many times Steinbeck refers to Lennie's hands as paws. In the beginning of the story Steinbeck says, "Lennie dabbed his big paw in the water," and he also says on the same page, "Snorting into the water like a horse," comparing Lennie to a horse. When handing over the mouse to George, he refers to Lennie as a dog by saying, "Slowly like a terrier, Lennie approached, drew back, and approached again."

During the fight with Lennie and Curley, he refers to Lennie as a sheep by saying, "He bleated with terror." Steinbeck refers to both Lennie and George as beavers by saying, "They are pounding their tails." The deaths of Lennie and Candy's dog have many similarities. They are both killed by Carlson's gun and are shot right in the back of the head where they wouldn't feel a thing. They are also killed for the following reason, Candy's dog was killed to stop its suffering and George killed Lennie so, he wouldn't have to die in a suffering manner. Candy also regretted that he didn't kill his dog, but George felt responsible to kill Lennie himself.

The many different animal images of Lennie help make the story and describe him. The death of Candy's dog is an important event in the story and helps foreshadow the end of the book. The animal imagery and death of Candy's dog are parallel later in the book when Lennie was killed.