Of Mice and Men

Animals?

I have just been set a task for the new semester called 'The Significance of Animals in Of Mice and Men' but all I can see is that there are lots of animals in the book. How my supposed to write an essay on that?!?!?

how does Steinbeck use them for particular effects in the story? Any examples anyone???

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Well, consider each animal. There's a water snake in the first chapter. It disappears. In the last chapter, we see another, and it gets gobbled up by a bird.

Lennie has a mouse in his pocket. He has accidentally killed it.

Lulu had pups, but Slim drowned the smallest.

Candy's old dog is shot dead.

Lennie is very upset by the notion that some cat might get his rabbits.

Lennie sees an imaginary rabbit when he's hiding in the brush waiting for George.

The horses and mules rattle their chains every time someone enters or exits the barn.

Lennie kills the pup that Slim gives him.

Use these to develop a thesis statement about the treatement of animals. Then relate that to the treatment of people in the novel.

Some really good examples there, Charles. Cheers for the effort! Especially about the horses, but they don't stamp their feet when anybody walks in, do they? Isn't it just when there's danger in the air or someone troublesome is nearby? I think the stamping symbolises the tension and foreshadows a dangerous event.

I think that the animals are just used for symbolism. For example, the use of the rabbits is just to symbolise how much Lennie is hoping on his dream

the horses rattle their chains and get edgy everytime they sense something dangerous AKA culeys wife.

The horses mostly do that when Curleys wife walks past this could simbolise that they sense her negative energy. Another way an animal was used in the story way when Candys dog was shot we remember that Candy had regrets of not shooting the dog himself so therefore George shots Lennie because other wise Curley would have enjoyed murdering him. Through out the story Lennie is likened to an animal this is shown by the way he acts although it was not intensional he kills Curley wife at the end with his animal strength.

you may want to include that the horses stamp there feet and rattle the chains on there bridle and tack when curleys wife enters the barn.

Horses generally toss there heads or stamp and pace when they get nervouse , are worried or are impatient for something ... such as dinner !

goin back to the novel tho , the horses would have been showing there supposed sixth sense by picking up the emotions of curleys wife , they would be nervouse , showing that curleys wife causes trouble, conflict and insecurity , leaving those around her on edge.

yes some good points charles, however i feel that for a lot of the book, Lennie is compaired to animals, he is often refered big animals, such as a bear. "he dabled his big paw in the water" this suggests that hes like a big animal. and because hes big people think hes violent and get the wrong impression of him like the girl in weed.

The animals are used for symbolism, like when Candy's dog gets shot it overshadows what will happen to Lennie, later in the novel.

When the horses rattle their halter chins and stamp their feet it is often when curley's wife is around, which can symbolise that she is trouble or causes trouble for the other characters. it is also said that animals have a sixth sense, which is why i think Steinbeck chose to use horses and halter chains to create tension and forshadow further events.

The animals are used for symbolism, like when Candy's dog gets shot it overshadows what will happen to Lennie, later in the novel.

When the horses rattle their halter chins and stamp their feet it is often when curley's wife is around, which can symbolise that she is trouble or causes trouble for the other characters. it is also said that animals have a sixth sense, which is why i think Steinbeck chose to use horses and halter chains to create tension and forshadow further events.

thats what i said lynard read my post >< but its not just the horses as charles said all the anials in the ook symbolise something and create atmosphere

Hi guys,

I am glad I found that forum. Thus fas it helped me a lot with the preparations of my A-Level presentation examine. But my my question what kind of ideas do you have on that snake at the beginning an the end of the book? The only thing I can come up with that makes some sense is that a snake is often a symbol for a guardian. But that doesn't fit to well as it is eaten in the end ;o)

Also it is both times described to hold its head like a periscope.

Any ideas on the snake?

The water snake is a sign of evil. In the first chapter, it looks around and then moves on. Evil still lives on, even though George and Lennie have escaped the evil posse from Weed. In the last chapter, the snake is gobbled up by a bird. George is going to "gobble up" the evil of Curley by shooting Lennie humanely.

they also seperate the horses from everyone else just lik they seperate the black man from everyone else also. there is another paralell where candy's dog is sick and crippled like candy is crippled and slow moving and is possibly going to be sacked soon, plus candys dog gets shot in the back of the head like lennie does at the end of the book.

If you read chpater four very carefully, you'll notice that the horses stamp every time someone goes in or out . . . except when Curley's wife enters. So . . . was she already in the barn, listening all along? Or, did she follow Lennie or Candy into the barn and then wait to enter Crooks's room? The horses do stamp when she leaves. Interesting detail.

Lennie is compared to lots of animals: a bear, a terrier, horse.

Notice also that when Curley's wife dies, a pigeon flies into the barn and immediately back out. Her spirit set free? A symbol of the fleeting nature of human life?

I think each animal represents something. For starters, Candy's dog is old and so is Candy. Dog represents Candy. I.e, Candy is old and won't live for long just like the dog as it got shot. The rabbits shows that their dream is unrealistic as at the beginning Lennie says he wants all different coloured rabbits but we know that there are only mostly white rabbits and sometimes black or other common colours but never blue or pink. The horses on the other hand represent danger. For instance, they stomped their feel when Curley's wife dies because there is danger in the air. Then we know that either they run away or Curley kills Lennie meaning something bad happens. The mice represents death. Shows how strong Lennie can be and even though he didn't want to, he killed the mice which means that later on in the story, there will be more deaths or injuries. It all builds up to the death of Curley's wife.

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Animals are significant in the novel in many ways: one being; the way Candys dog dies, a bullet to the back of the head, foreshadows how Lennie is to die at the end of the novel. You could also add to this point by saying that the dog was being put out of its misery and so was Lennie as he didn't fit in with society.

Lennie is a heavy handed fella, he killed a lot of his 'pets' this way. Lennie gets given a puppy by slim lennie, being Lennie, kills is by stroking it too hard, this is significant as Curley's wife dies the same way.

hope u found this helpfull.