What do you think happened in Weed, when John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men was set?
The story is set during the Great Depression, in a small town in California. Two men, George and Lennie, are on the run from their previous job, where Lennie got into trouble.
They end up in Weed, where they meet a woman named Curley’s wife. She is flirting with them, and Lennie becomes fixated on her. George tells him to stay away from her, but he doesn’t listen.
Later that night, Curley’s wife comes into the barn where they are sleeping and tries to talk to Lennie. He doesn’t understand what she wants and accidentally kills her.
George knows that this will mean certain death for Lennie, so he decides to kill him himself, rather than let him be captured and killed by the authorities.
The audience was drawn into the story of Mice and Men, written by John Steinbeck in 1937. The author depicts a realistic tale covering the Great Depression in America during the 1930s, including its effects on farm laborers and their problems. With great attention to detail, Steinbeck utilizes several narrative methods.
The story begins in the town of Weed, California. Two men, George and Lennie, are on their way to a new job. They have just been kicked out of their previous job after Lennie was accused of stealing one of the other workers’ belongings.
While they are walking, they meet a man named Slim who tells them about his work on the farm. He describes it as a good place to work with great food and good pay. This makes George and Lennie interested in working there.
When they finally arrive at the farm, they meet the owner, Curley. He is a mean man who does not like George and Lennie. He is also very jealous of his wife and does not want her talking to any of the other men on the farm.
George and Lennie are put to work on the farm. They meet a man named Candy who is old and has lost his hand in an accident. He is worried about what will happen to him when he can no longer work on the farm.
They also meet Crooks, who is a black man. He is not allowed to socialize with the other men on the farm because of the color of his skin.
One day, Curley’s wife comes into the barn where George and Lennie are working. She starts talking to them and asks them about themselves. George tells her to leave, but she does not listen.
In the text, the author employs a lot of foreshadowing and symbolism. While reading, the audience may feel much anticipation as they anticipate the unavoidable future predicted by the character’s speech or actions, as well as other literary elements such as colloquial language and animal imagery.
For instance, in Of Mice and Men, Curley’s wife is never named and is only referred to as “Curley’s wife”. This is done by Steinbeck to make her seem like an object or a possession of Curley rather than a human being. Furthermore, Curley’s wife is always portrayed in a negative light; she is shown to be flirtatious, promiscuous and manipulative.
She is also described using animal imagery, such as when Candy says that she has “the eye of a snake”. This creates a sense of foreboding around her character and the readers are led to believe that she will bring about some sort of trouble for the protagonists.
Another example of foreshadowing can be seen in the character of Lennie. Lennie is a large, strong man with a child-like mind. He is often compared to animals, such as when he is first introduced and described as “a huge man, shapeless of face”. This animal imagery is used by Steinbeck to show that Lennie is not like other people; he is not as intelligent and does not understand social conventions. Furthermore, his strength is often emphasised, which suggests that he could be dangerous if he were to lose control.
Lennie’s actions also serve as a form of foreshadowing. For instance, when he accidentally kills his puppy, this is a sign that he does not know his own strength and that he is capable of harming others without meaning to. This foreshadows the events of the novel’s climax, when Lennie kills Curley’s wife after she tries to flirt with him.
Throughout the novella, foreshadowing occurs on numerous occasions. Steinbeck successfully entices his readers to question whether something said or done by a character will be foreshadowed later in the narrative. Lennie was given silk velvet by his aunt Clara and has always liked feeling smooth things. An occurrence in Weed, where George and Lennie worked, which had previously been foreshadowed in subsequent events.
When Lennie was in the barn petting a mouse he accidently killed it. This is similar to how Lennie will end up killing Curley’s wife. When Lennie and George are talking about their farm that they want to own, Lennie always talks about the rabbits he will have.
“An’ I get to tend the rabbits, George. You gonna let me tend the rabbits, wont you, George?” (Of Mice and Men 36). This ultimately foreshadows his death as he accidently kills Curley’s wife by stroking her hair too hard after she had told him not to but he couldn’t help it because he liked the feel of soft things.
Another example of foreshadowing is when Slim tells George that Lennie “ain’t no cuckoo. Jus’ sabe too much an’ ain’t mean none. I think he’d make a WILLIN’ han’ on a ranch if some body’d put up with him. But ever’body kicks him aroun’ like he wuz trash till he gets mad. An then they washes their hands of him an lets him take it out on somebody else… I think maybe he hadda lotta bad luck. (Of Mice and Men 50).
This is important because it gives the readers an idea that Lennie has had a tough life and that he is a good person despite his mental disability. It also foreshadows the fact that Lennie will get into trouble and someone will have to pay the price for it, which in this case is Curley’s wife.
John Steinbeck uses foreshadowing throughout the novella Of Mice and Men to give readers a hint of what might happen in the future. Even though Lennie is mentally disabled, he is still a kind-hearted person who just wants someone to be friends with him and care for him. Unfortunately, because of his disability, he often gets into trouble and someone always pays the price for it in the end.
In conclusion, Steinbeck uses a variety of literary techniques to create a sense of foreboding and anticipation in Of Mice and Men. The animal imagery, the comparisons between Lennie and an animal, and the events leading up to the novel’s climax all serve to suggest that something bad is going to happen.