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Symbolism in Of Mice & Men

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Swathi T

on 21 January 2015

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Transcript of Symbolism in Of Mice & Men

How Steinbeck utilizes symbolism
George Milton
George and Lennie '37
Lennie Smalls
Swathi Tata, Athmika Vaseeharan, and Rashi Bhatt
Symbolism in Of Mice & Men
Objects that are used to indirectly illustrate abstract ideas and add meaning to the the different concepts the author is trying to delineate
Steinbeck uses symbols to illustrate the central message of the novel to inform his audience about the difficulties of the American Dream.
Symbols are also used to directly depict the character's demeanor and explain their actions.

: Lennie and Curley
: Candy and Crooks, proofreading
: Curley's Wife, George
All three: Conclusion slide
George Milton
¨We'll have a big vegetable patch and a rabbit hutch and chickens. And when it rains in the winter, we'll just say the hell with goin' to work, and we'll build up a fire in the stove and set around it an' listen to the rain comin' down on the roof."

Curley's Wife

Curley's wife represents sexism in American society.
She plays no major role in the book and her existence as an indivisual is relatively irrelevant to the plot.
Her insignificance is also shown by how she has no name
Steinbeck utilizes Crooks character to represent the racism
Crooks symbolizes a weak target who is isolated from all the other white men living on the ranch simply because of his skin color.
The black skin color of Crooks clearly proves to be a disability that prevents him achieving his dreams
When Curly's wife begins to threaten Crooks, he shrivels up and grows petrified about the anticipated consequences.
"What's eatin' on Curley?" ... Whit said sarcastically, "He spends half his time lookin' for her, and the rest of the time she spends lookin' for him." (Steinbeck, 53).
Each character in John Steinbeck's
Of Mice and Men
are symbols that represent an abstract ideas.

They are all allegories that explain a different aspect of the American Dream.
Lennie is the physical embodiment of hopefulness. He represents the hope all of us have to wake up one day to that perfect morning that we have finally achieved the American Dream.
However, Lennie also represents the delusion aspect of the American dream, which in sight is a bad thing.
Curley represents the material successes of American Dream. He has it all, has his own ranch/farm and has a very beautiful lady as his wife.
However, Curley also shows the lack of emotional success and satisfaction one finds after truly achieving the dream.
Throughout the novel, Curley shows signs of his unhappiness with his wife and the insecurity of his physical appearance and size.
" An' live off the fatta the lan', " Lennie shouted. "An' have rabbits. Go on, George! Tell about what we're gonna have in the garden...how thick the cream is on the milk like you can hardly cut it. Tell about that, George." (Steinbeck, 14).
George represents rationality and inhibitions.
Steinbeck adds him into the novel to show that there are barriers when it comes to achieving the American Dream, and that they will always exist regardless of delusion.
Candy exemplifies the social discrimination against handicaps and the elderly.
Candy is forced to live with the fear that when he becomes incapable of performing the simplest task on the ranch he will simply be abandoned.
Just like his dog, Candy believes that he has lived beyond his usefulness.

'Crooks had reduced himself to nothing. There was no personality, no ego--nothing to arose either like or dislike. He said, Yes, ma'am." and his voice was toneless.' (Steinbeck 81)
"I tell you I ain't used to livin' like this. I coulda made somethin' of myself." She said darkly, "Maybe I will yet."
" I ain't much good with on'y one hand. I lost my hand right here on this ranch. That's why they give me a job swampin."
Full transcript