Discuss the Use of Animal Imagery in of Mice and Men

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Task: Discuss the use of animal imagery in Of Mice and Men

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The Title
Look up the significance of the title

The title of the book comes from a poem by the 18th century Scottish poet Robert Burns. It is about a mouse which carefully builds a winter nest in a wheat field, only for it to be destroyed by a ploughman.

The mouse had dreamed of a safe, warm winter and is now faced with the harsh reality of cold, loneliness and possible death. There is a parallel here with George and Lennie's joyful fantasy of a farm of their own, and its all-too-predictable destruction at the end of the story.

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Characterisation
List as many examples as you can where animal imagery is used:

Example: Curley is ‘like a terrier’ showing his aggression, but when Lennie and him fight, he eventually is ‘flopping like a fish’, showing Lennie’s power

Lennie "walk[ing] heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws," Dragging his "paws" like a "bear" depicts an image of a slow, overly large man, harmlessly prodding along.

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." Loyalty – Like a dog

On page 3 its says "snorting into the water like a horse" this shows Lennie's strength as it refers to him as a big animal, it also reveals his animal instincts.

On page 10 is the quote "I wisht to get the rabbits soon" the rabbits are what Lennie wants and therefore symbolize his dreams and his aspirations, what he works for in life, his purpose.

Page 11, "feeling on it like it was a mouse" this is comparing the dress of the girl in Weed to the mouse that Lennie had, it shows his lack of perception as well as the vast lack of logic that is the main difference between him and all other normal people....
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