Animals In Of Mice And Men

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Following the Great Depression in 1929, John Steinbeck’s novella, Of Mice and Men, narrates the story of two migrant workers, George and Lennie, and their pursuance of the American Dream. Under entirely different historical backgrounds, Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident is a mystery novel narrated by Christopher, a fifteen-year-old mathematician with some behavioral difficulties. Steinbeck and Haddon both use animals to develop their respective story characters; however, while the use of animals acts as a catalyst for plot progression and a bridge between characters in The Curious Incident, it serves a more symbolic purpose, crucial to the reader’s understanding of the text, in Of Mice and Men. These works encounter the difficulty of illustrating…show more content…
The farm that George constantly describes to Lennie—those few acres of land on which they will grow their own food and tend their own livestock—is one of the most powerful symbols in the book. It represents a paradise for men who want to be masters of their own lives. For Lennie, this dream is simplified to the tending of rabbits and accentuates Lennie’s reliance on George. He acts out of loyalty and innocence for the sake of this dream, and is always in fear of George taking this promised land from him. After being oblivious of his own strengths and killing the dog, Lennie says that, “‘Now maybe Geaorge ain’t gonna let me tend no rabbits, if he fin’s out you got killed,’” (Steinbeck 121). Furthermore, Lennie’s puppy is one of several symbols that represent the victory of the strong over the weak. Lennie kills the puppy accidentally, as he has killed many mice before, by virtue of his failure to recognize his own strength. Like an innocent animal, Lennie is unaware of the vicious, predatory powers that surround him. Finally, Candy’s dog represents the fate awaiting anyone who has outlived his or her purpose. Once a fine sheepdog, useful on the ranch, Candy’s mutt is now debilitated by age. Candy internalizes this lesson, for he fears that he himself is nearing an age when he will no longer be useful at the ranch, and therefore no longer
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