Essay On Symbolism In Of Mice And Men

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Symbols are a literary device used by authors to represent a deeper, complex meaning in their stories. The reader must understand how symbolism enriches and expresses the profound message behind the central theme of the text. In the novel, Of Mice and Men, George, a migrant worker, travels with his friend, Lennie, who is intellectually disabled. The reader follows George and Lennie as they get to know their co-workers including Candy, an old, crippled caretaker, Crooks, an intelligent, negro stable hand, and Curley’s wife, a lady desperate for attention and someone to talk to. These characters all face discrimination present in society. George tries to clean up the problems caused by Lennie and escape the consequences of Lennie’s lack of understanding. As Steinbeck uses setting as a symbolic element in Of Mice and Men, he addresses the societal issues of discrimination and segregation, transforms…show more content…
The author describes the resting horses who “nibbled the remaining wisps of hay”, “stamped their feet”, “bit the wood of the mangers”, and “rattled halter chains”, but “in the barn it was quiet and humming and lazy and warm” (84). The uneventfulness and slowness of the day symbolize the calm before the storm. The ordinary aspects of the barn before Lennie kills Curley’s wife creates a bigger impact of Lennie’s actions. Likewise, after Lennie escapes from the barn after realizing the trouble he is in, Steinbeck proclaims, “But the barn was alive now. The horses stamped and snorted, and they chewed the straw of their bedding and they clashed the chains of their halters” (93). This change in setting is a symbol of the sudden, mad chaos that ensues. The confusion and break in the peace from the previous setting put an emphasis on the disorder in the situation. The symbolism creates a more vivid shift in the setting of the barn resulting from Lennie’s
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