Symbolism in “Of mice and men” by John Steinbeck
Analyze the symbols of John Steinbeck’s “Of mice and men”.
What is the role of the animals in the novel? How does the fate of Candy’s ancient dog reflect Lennie’s fate? How have the dreams of each of the characters affected their present life? Is faith vital for survival?
The symbolism of the Candy’s dog, Lennie accidently killing a puppy and George and Lennie’s dream of a farm are essential elements of the message of John Steinbeck’s “Of mice and men”.
John Steinbeck’s novel carries of lot of symbolism on its pages. It is owing to these symbols the author revealed the characters to the reader. One of the most important symbols of the novel is the symbolism of the Candy’s dog. As Candy’s dog is no longer needed and has given birth to new strong sheepdogs the only possible resolution is to kill the “unnecessary” animal. This killing is hidden behind the motive of not making the dog suffer. Once somebody becomes weak – he is no longer needed. Though Candy loves his dog he does not stop Carlson from killing it. The key of this symbolism is that Candy himself is an “old sheepdog” and Lennie becomes an “old sheepdog” at the end of the novel.
" Another strong symbol is that Lennie accidently kills what he likes. As Lenny like to pet everything soft he accidently kills a mouse, than a little puppy and eventually Curley’s wife. He happens to kill them only because he is stronger than they are. He does not realize his strength. The same way when Lennie becomes “weaker”, just like the puppy he accidently killed. The puppy was playing without knowing that his friend will kill him.
Another vital symbol is that Lennie and George had a dream of a farm. This dream symbolizes the dream of each worker of those hard times to work and produce food for living and simply to be happy by being free from oppressions. It is hope and dreaming that gave George and Lennie strength to keep going."
All of the three symbols discussed above are crucial for the message which is delivered in John Steinbeck’s novella “Of mice and men” as they reveal the life of the people during the period of the Great Depression.
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