In the book Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, there are many instances of foreshadowing. While they may not be noticed at first, they stick out like a sore thumb in the end.
The main characters in the book are Lennie, a huge man with the mind of a young child, and George, a small man who had landed them a job on a ranch. Lennie is a man who doesn’t think for himself, and relies on George for guidance. They travel together, forever chasing the dream of getting a piece of land to call their own.
The ranch job would get them closer to buying their own little corner of the world.
One major example was when Lennie got in a fight with Curley. ‘Come on, ya big bastard. Get up on your feet.’ He slashed at Lennie.(p.
62) Candy warned George and Lennie when they first came to the ranch. Curley is like a lot of little guys. He hates big guys. Kind of like he’s mad at ’em because he ain’t a big guy. (p. 26) This foreshadows that Curley will fight Lennie at some point later on.Order now
Curley’s gonna wanna shoot ‘im. He’s still mad about his hand.(p.97) Curley had been waiting for revenge on Lennie since their fight.
Another example of foreshadowing is George confiding in Slim why he and Lennie were forced to leave Weed, a small Californian town. ‘He seen this girl in a red dress.
Just wants to feel it. So he reaches out to feel this dress, and the girl lets out a squawk, and he holds on. The guys in Weed start a party out to lynch Lennie.'(p.41) Curley’s wife and Lennie were talking and the subject of feeling soft things came up. She asked him to feel her hair, because it was so soft.
She feared he would mess it up, so she jerked her head sideways, and Lennie’s fingers closed on her hair and held on. ‘Let go!’ she cries he shook her, and her body flopped like a fish, for Lennie had broken her neck.(p.91) He ran away after this and was pursued by the workers.
A third event in the novel presents Candy, the swamper, having his old, outcast, useless dog shot right back of the head. He wouldn’t feel nothing.
(p.45) This foreshadows the later incident when Lennie was killed, reluctantly, by George. George raised the gun and steadied it, and he brought the muzzle close to the back of Lennie’s head he pulled the trigger. (p. 106) The shootings of the dog and Lennie were both painless, and happened because they were unavoidable. The dog and Lennie both had no life ahead of them.
Lennie would have been imprisoned, and the dog was a major burden to himself and others.
In conclusion, I believe that these fores
adowings play a big role in helping the reader understand the novel. They allow the reader to predict character reactions to events, thus helping them to enjoy and understand the novel.
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