Animal Imagery In Of Mice And Men
Steinbeck utilizes much animal images in his writing, particularly in his description of Lennie. Even from the extremely beginning where he describes Lennie “walk [ing] greatly, dragging his feet a little, the method a bear drags his paws,” p4 we see this comparison. Each of the animals pointed out in the book are utilized as a metaphor to Lennie’s personality and behaviour. Dragging his “paws” like a “bear” depicts an image of a slow, extremely big man, harmlessly prodding along. Steinbeck cleverly chooses these links.
As mentioned previously, Lennie’s relationship with the mice also play a huge part in the story. His obsession with cuddling them supplies him with security and comfort. Simply the feeling of the mouse’s smooth fur, running along his fingers, leaves him with a sense of contentment. This symbolises his soft, caring mindset and his warm heart. Rabbits are also another animal discussed in the novel. George informs Lennie “… if you do [get in trouble], I won’t let you tend to the rabbits.” p17 This ended up being’s Lennie’s motivation to ‘behave’ and watch what he does.
Sometimes, quite often than not, Lennie finds himself, inadvertently in strife. Yet when he has something to expect, (in this case rabbits, which he envisions himself rubbing and looking after) he tries harder to be ‘great’. The forth example of Steinbeck’s usage of animal imagery in the text is his contrast of Lennie’s loyalty to that of a pet dog. Though not directly, this is the image conjured from his description of Lennie drinking from a pool of water, very early on. “His big companion dropped his blankets and flung himself down and consumed from the surface area of the green swimming pool. p4 It appears here, that Lennie is, as the phrase goes ‘a male’s best friend’.
He shows, just as much as George does to him, his complete commitment and unconditional friendship. In methods it is easier to compare Lennie’s qualities to that of a pet. Like a pet dog, he does not understand specific concepts, does not think about the repercussions to his actions, yet he’s lovable, innocent and constantly there by George’s side. He counts on assistance from his ‘owner’ and finds pleasure in the easiest of things. Animal imagery plays a major part in this novel.