Animal Imagery In Steinie, Candy's Of Mice And Men

1498 Words 6 Pages
The turn of the twentieth century brought upon new, controversial forms of literature that caused people rethink their entire outlook on life. This literary movement was known as Naturalism. Unlike its predecessor, Realism, which focused mostly on literary technique, Naturalism focused on philosophical theories. Naturalism can be simply described as applying scientific and philosophical viewpoints to literature in order to identify underlying causes of a person’s behavior. Naturalists believed that a person’s circumstances, whether they be hereditary or social, ultimately determine a person’s behavior throughout life (Rhan). Every aspect of a human was thought to be directly related to the natural world. Human beings were thought of as “human …show more content…
Writers often compared people to animals as a way of conveying more vivid descriptions of their characters. Furthermore, these comparisons were commonly done as a form of symbolism, or even as a way of foreshadow future events in the story. There are several examples of animal imagery in Of Mice and Men. One of the main characters, Lennie, was compared to a dog many times throughout the novella. One that stands out the most would be the underlying comparison made between Lennie and Candy 's dog. A quote from the novel, “He ain’t no good to you, Candy. An’ he ain’t no good to himself. Why’n’t you shoot him, Candy?” shows that the dog was seen as useless (Steinbeck 44). It had outlived its purpose, therefore it was shot and killed. This imagery foreshadowed what would happen to Lennie at the end of the story. After outliving his purpose and becoming useless, Lennie was killed in the same way Candy’s dog was. Lennie was treated as a dog in the way that he was put out of his misery. Lennie was also openly compared to a dog by his friend George. George said that Lennie was, “like a terrier, who doesn 't want to bring a ball to its master” (Steinbeck 9). Lennie acted like a dog in other situations, like when he “covered his face with huge paws,” and “pawed up the hay” (Steinbeck 63, 92). By comparing Lennie to a commonly known animal, Steinbeck made it easier for readers to visualize …show more content…
Naturalists used the theme of determinism because it stressed that the course of the character 's lives was determined by the conflicting forces in which they were dealing with (Rhan). Most people struggling with free will tended to be part of the lower class, as were the characters in Of Mice and Men. This story displayed numerous incidents of lack of free will. Lennie’s free will was limited because of his mental incapabilities. Also, he never was able to make any decisions for himself because he was controlled by George. A clear example of George’s control over Lennie is when George says, “I’ll give him the work tickets, but you ain’t gonna say a word. You jus’ stand there and don’t say nothing” (Steinbeck 6). This shows that George told Lennie what to do, and Lennie just had to go along with what George said. Another character that did not have any free will was Curley’s wife. She dreamed of being a Hollywood star in the big pictures. She was promised this dream life by a man she once knew, but that never happened for her. Instead, she was stuck on a farm, being constantly controlled by man in which she had no feelings for. Her lack of free will is seen in the quote, “You can talk to people, but I can’t talk to nobody but Curley. Else he gets mad” (Steinbeck 87). In a way, George lacked free will as well. He wanted to leave Lennie because he knew

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