'To A Mouse': A Literary Analysis

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In the poem, To a Mouse, Robert Burns states, “The best laid schemes of mice and men/ Go often askew/ And leave us nothing but grief and pain” (Burns). Burns wrote about an incident where he accidentally ruined a mouse’s home while plowing a field. During the early 1900s, the Great Depression, one of the biggest economic slumps in the history of the United States, was taking place. It resulted in many people being unemployed, lonely, and stuck in poverty. In the story, George and Lennie move around looking for work on farms, so that they can one day use their money to buy a house on their own. Unfortunately, Lennie often makes mistakes causing them to leave a job early before making their money. At one farm, they meet a man named Candy who…show more content…
The narrator described the setting in the beginning as “twinkling over the yellow sands in the sunlight” (Steinbeck 1), but later on he stated that “the sun had left the valley” (Steinbeck 99). These quotes foreshadow what is going to happen later in the story because of their relation to dreams and fate. Steinbeck uses sunlight to represent dreams and he uses darkness to represent fate. The characteristics of a dream and sunlight both consist of beauty, happiness, and brightness ahead. Darkness and fate are known for their scary realities. The darkness takes over the sunlight leaving it with nothing, just like fate takes over dreams. The quotes foreshadow George, Candy, and Lennie’s dream being crushed after Lennie gets in trouble again. They also foreshadow Candy’s dog being killed because of uncontrolled outcome that was bound to happen. Steinbeck chooses sunlight as a way to transmit the message that fate will always win no matter how much you prepare because of the similar characteristics that the light and dark have with dreams and fate. In the novel, Steinbeck tells of a water snake’s head “held up like a little periscope” (Steinbeck 7) until a heron “lanced down and plucked it out by the head” (Steinbeck 99). The water snake is a representative of a dream because of its periscope head preparing for an opportunity to achieve its goal. The heron portrays fate because it takes the water snake by its head to kill it instantly and unexpectedly, like fate crushes dreams. The incident with the heron and the snake foreshadows Lennie’s fate, which is also instant and unexpected. Curley’s wife is like the periscope head, preparing for an opportunity to become an actress, until Lennie started petting her hair and killed her. Lennie’s actions were similar to the actions of the heron and the actions of fate. They all make uncontrollable
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