Why Does Steinbeck Use Animal Imagery In Of Mice And Men

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Steinbeck’s introduction of Lennie infers he has animalistic characteristics that he’s ‘a huge man, shapeless of face, with large, pale eyes, with wide, sloping shoulders: and he walked heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws.’ Steinbeck’s vocabulary in this phrase teaches us a lot about Lennie, for example we can understand he is a physically big person from the adjectives like ‘huge’, ‘large’, and ‘wide’. Also describing his eyes as ‘pale’ could be indicative of the knowledge behind them, or more accurately the lack thereof. It suggests that in reality he has a tendency to be absent-minded. Within this description of Lennie, we come across the first piece of animal imagery, where Steinbeck presents Lennie as a bear who ‘drags his paws’.…show more content…
Lennie also has other similarities with bears, they are conceived as dangerous, yet they only become so when they feel threatened, in self-defence. As is true when Lennie attacks Curley, here Steinbeck is subtly foreshadowing this event. After being described as a bear, he is later described as a horse ‘snorting into the water’. This can again tell us a few things about Lennie. It could be suggestive of his relationship with George, and how Lennie, as the horse is able to be controlled by his owner. It also reinforces his strength and power, and how it is only utilized it when he feels vulnerable. The use of the verb ‘snorting’ shows hurriedness in his actions, but also could be referring to the way he acts from instincts rather than acting from intelligence. Later in the chapter Steinbeck uses a simile to describe Lennie as a ‘terrier who doesn’t want to bring a ball to his master’ that again talks of George’s control over Lennie, speaking of him as a

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