Of Mice and Men

What do mice symbolize in the first chapter?

What significance in regard to the story or title

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Mice, in the first chapter, represents Lennie's futile hope of a place to belong to where he can pet soft things. Lennie pets his mouse to death: a foreshadowing of his inability to understand the gravity of his actions. Lennie pets for his own comfort rather than any substantial affection for the life of what he pets. This lack of understanding will eventually lead to his death.