Symbols and Meanings of Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men

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John Steinbeck’s 1949 novella entitled Of Mice and Men uses many significant symbols to convey meanings about the human condition. Such symbols include hands to represent labour, cards to signify chance and taking a risk, and finally, rabbits to suggest ideas about achieving one’s hopes and dreams. Symbols are a key central device in delivering meaning, as they consistently repeated throughout the narrative and are typically associated with the novella’s many characters.

The hand is a significant symbol that recurs throughout the novellas plotline; it comments on the novel’s meanings by suggesting that in order to achieve your hopes and dreams you, you must work hard for it. As each character is introduced Steinbeck makes specific reference to their hands. This is evident when at the beginning of the narrative when Curley is first introduced – Steinbeck draws attention to the fact that he is wearing a glove. Also, Candy’s “stump” is often referred throughout the plot. “Out of the sleeve came a round, stick-like wrist but no hand” (p.20). This links to idea of the human condition because Candy lost his hand operating machinery, working for his hopes and dreams. Also, Curley used to be a boxer and is described as being “handy” which therefore links to the idea of hard work – an essential part of human nature.
John Steinbeck’s 1949 novella entitled Of Mice and Men uses many significant symbols to convey meanings about the human condition. Such symbols include hands to represent labour, cards to signify chance and taking a risk, and finally, rabbits to suggest ideas about achieving one’s hopes and dreams. Symbols are a key central device in delivering meaning, as they consistently repeated throughout the narrative and are typically associated with the novella’s many characters.

The hand is a significant symbol that recurs throughout the novellas plotline; it comments on the novel’s meanings by suggesting that in order to achieve your hopes and dreams you, you

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