At times in life, you might be having a conversation with someone and about something that gives you a hint of what is going to take place in the near future. It is as if they already know what is coming and find a subtle way of telling you that leave you with a feeling that you know what is going to happen. This is what is called foreshadowing in literature. In the story Of Mouse and Men by Steinbeck, he tells the story that depicts what being human implies. It is the story of Lennie and George who have an ambition of one day owning their ranch. The story depicts their struggles as they chase their dream, and it thus reveals the nature of human suffering, sacrifice, dreams, and hardships. Foreshadowing is a device in literary works that is used to give the reader some hint of what is going to happen in the future. This paper is going to look at the aspect of foreshadowing in Steinbecks story. It is how the author uses foreshadowing to give the reader a hint or a warning of what is in store for the future.
Steinbeck uses various instances to denote that Lennie is not going to survive a long time in the cruel world. At the beginning of the narrative, the world is introduced in a right way thus raising the hopes of the reader as it has a happy tone but then it is followed by dark unhappy moments. The story revolves around stronger characters preying on the weak and as we know, Lennie is weak due to his mental incapacity. The incidence in the weed is a good example of foreshadowing that shows Lennie is going to be in trouble.
A good instance is between Carlson and Candy and says, Ill put the old devil out of his misery, (p.47) in order to let him kill the dog. The depiction of the weak being preyed on or eliminated foreshadows the death of Lennie. In this instance, it is like Candy and his dog represent George and Lennie. When the dog finally dies, we get the feeling that Lennie is also going to follow the same route since it is a representation of George being the strong one and Lennie being the weak one amongst the two. The fact that the death of Lennie and that of Candys dog are almost similar shows that Lennies death had been foreshadowed earlier on in the story.
The instance when Lennie kills the mouse is a foreshadowing that shows he is capable of killing. This later turns out to be more that accurate when he finally kills Curleys wife. The author prepares the reader for the final instance when Lennie takes his killing to the next level
Steinbeck also uses the manner of which the dog dies to make the reader predict how Lennie might die. The death of the dog and Lennie are identical in the sense that the dog was shot in the back of its head just like Lennie too died. Before the dogs death, Candy tells George in (p.61), I ought to of shot that dog myself which gives a premonition that George might decide to kill his friend himself rather than let him be killed by a stranger. This eventually happens as George kills Lennie himself instead of leaving the task to someone else.
The death of Curleys wife is foreshadowed by the portrayal of Lennie as a troublemaker and it is shown through the way he scares Curleys wife before she dies. Steinbeck uses foreshadowing to show the reader that there will be trouble. Lennie's habit of being carried away when he touches soft things eventually leads to a tragic end for the wife. Lennie says that he just wanted to pet the dress like a mouse and that he did not have an idea that she would react in a violent manner. Curleys wife tendency of being flirtatious also foreshadows her death as she is depicted to be flirting with danger. The episodes related to Lennie getting the girls dress in the weed, then he kills a mouse and a puppy shows that Lennie is capable of killing and thus foreshadows him killing Curleys wife.
Steinbeck in the second chapter foreshadows the evidence of trouble when Candy tells George and Lennie abut Curley. George feigns disinterest and casually comments, looks like we was gonna have fun. At this Lennie says in a somber mood that he has no interest in trouble and that he has never done anything to the man. Steinbeck uses this part to hint to the reader that there is going to be a likelihood of a confrontation later on, most likely between Lennie and Curley.
Steinbeck uses foreshadowing heavily in the book to tell the reader of the events that are going to unfold. This can be seen from the conversation about the killing of the dog, the killing of the puppy to the conversation concerning Curley. It is evident that the events preceding the major events in the narrative have been predicted at some point of the story. Steinbeck uses this technique liberally in his story from the beginning leading up to the events that take place at the end of the book. Most notable of all is Lennies death, which is predicted by the death of the dog. It is almost as if the death of the dog by the owner is an act of mercy and George later carries out on Lennie.
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