Of Mice and Men

Chapter 3

On page 48 and 49, Steinbeck uses several images of silence. Why does the image of silence play an important role at this point in the novel? Who is literally being silence? Who is metaphorically being silence, and what role does each man play in the silence?

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Unfortunately, pages do not always match from copy to copy. You will need to quote me a section so I know exactly where you are.

" His voice trailed off. It was silent outside. Carlson's footsteps died away. The silence came into the room. And the silence lasted."

The "elephant in the room" is of course the impending death of Candy's dog. All the men, including Candy, are waiting for the shot from Carlson's gun to fill the night air. The silence intensifies the expectation of the shot as well as Candy's personal pain. Candy no longer has a voice in his world: he cannot even stand up for his dog. The weak vulnerable are metaphorically silenced by their inability to voice their feelings or assert their identity.