Of Mice and Men


Story Symbols and Themes

The symbols used in the story are abstract representations of ideas and concepts expressed through the characters, colors, objects, figures, and items within the story.

The Dream Farm

This may be considered the most prominent symbol in the story. George constantly retells the story of a beautiful piece of land that the men will own in the future, where they can exist in peace and happiness, tending their own crops and livestock. It is the representation of freedom and an idyllic life. The other characters, such as Candy and Crooks, are drawn to the dream, as well, as a means of escape from their miserable lives on the ranch where they are discriminated against for their perceived weaknesses. The dream farm represents a paradise and a reprieve from the cruel, predatory nature of the outside world.

Candy’s Old Dog

Candy’s dog is a symbolic representation of how anyone perceived as no longer useful or without purpose is subject to a fate dictated by those that are “superior.” The dog was once useful as a sheepdog on the ranch, but now is old and decrepit, and its only purpose now is as a companion for Candy. The value of this companionship is not recognized or honored on the ranch, and Carlson insists that the old, useless dog must be killed. This represents the notion that the strong must always, without fail, dominate over and destroy the weak. This message is internalized by Candy, who sees that his purpose and use at the ranch are dwindling, and he is concerned about his own fate among workers that are stronger and have an advantage over him.

Lennie’s Puppy

The puppy is yet another representation of the strong maintaining victory and dominance over the weak. Lennie fails to recognize his own strength, but it is still expressed through his dominance over the puppy, which he accidentally kills in the same way that he had killed many mice in the past. Although Lennie is physically stronger than the...

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Essays About Of Mice and Men