Animal Imagery in of Mice and Men

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3.Steinbeck uses much animal imagery in his writing, particularly in his description of Lennie. Even from the very beginning where he describes Lennie "walk[ing] heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws," p4 we see this comparison. Each of the animals mentioned in the novel are used as a metaphor to Lennie's personality and behaviour. Dragging his "paws" like a "bear" depicts an image of a slow, overly large man, harmlessly prodding along. Steinbeck cleverly chooses these links. As mentioned earlier, Lennie's relationship with the mice also play a major part in the story. His obsession with petting them provides him with security and comfort. Just the feeling of the mouse's smooth fur, running along his fingers, leaves him with a sense of contentment. This symbolises his soft, caring attitude and his warm heart. Rabbits are also another animal mentioned in the novel. George tells Lennie "…if you do [get in trouble], I won't let you tend to the rabbits." p17 This become's Lennie's motivation to ‘behave' and watch what he does. Sometimes, quite often than not, Lennie finds himself, unintentionally in strife. Yet when he has something to hope for, (in this case rabbits, which he imagines himself stroking and looking after) he tries harder to be ‘good'. The forth example of Steinbeck's use of animal imagery in the text is his comparison of Lennie's loyalty to that of a dog. Though not directly, this is the image conjured from his description of Lennie drinking from a pool of water, very early on. "His huge companion dropped his blankets and flung himself down and drank from the surface of the green pool." p4 It seems here, that Lennie is, as the phrase goes ‘a man's best friend'. He proves, just as much as George does to him, his complete loyalty and unconditional friendship. In ways it is easier to compare Lennie's traits to that of a dog. Like a dog, he doesn't understand certain concepts, doesn't think about the consequences to his...
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