Of Mice and Men Animal Imagery

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In the novel, Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck uses comparisons between animals and humans to demonstrate Lennie’s animalistic qualities. Steinbeck compares Lennie to animals to illustrate his innocence, immaturity, unawareness, and curiosity. Animal imagery is used to provide insight to the characters personalities and behaviors through the comparison between Lennie and a bear, his obsession with rabbits, and his similarities to Candy’s dog.

Throughout the novel, Steinbeck compares Lennie’s natures and habits to that of a bear. At the beginning of the novel, Lennie’s gait is described as similar to the way a bear drags his paws (2). The word “drags” hints a sense of relaxation and calmness which is evident in Lennie’s personality. Lennie is not concerned with the trivial matters that consume the other characters. As Lennie bends down to get water from the pond, he dabbles his big paw in the water and wiggles his fingers to make circles(3). “Dabbles” illustrates the delicacy in his movement and shows his unawareness to his immense, bearlike size. Lennie is not worried about anything except how the water ripples. He remains unaffected by the everyday struggles of the majority of people in this time period. The comparison between Lennie and a bear show his unusual and immense size, but also the curious and careful nature of his personality.

Lennie’s obsession with rabbits shows his immature and innocent personality. After Lennie kills one of the pups, he is extremely concerned with the fact that George might not allow him to tend the rabbits anymore(85). Lennie’s immaturity is portrayed by his inability to realize the full extent of what he has done. Before George shoots Lennie, Lennie makes sure that he will still assume the position as the rabbit tender(105). This is another example of how Lennie’s immaturity is illustrated. Although Lennie just killed Curley’s wife, he is only concerned with the rabbits. Lennie’s love of rabbits is a clear example of his...
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