How does Steinbeck use Foreshadowing and Settings effectively in Of Mice and Men? John Ernst Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men uses a lot of foreshadowing and clever settings effectively, which makes his novel a great book. The use of foreshadowing entices the reader and makes you want to read on. The well-described settings make a vivid image of what is actually going on and help us think what it really was like during the 1930’s. Steinbeck uses masses of foreshadowing throughout his book. For instance, Steinbeck refers to Lennie as an animal. Lennie dabbled his big paw in the water…” George, later in the book, says “Ever’ Sunday we’d kill a chicken or rabbit. Maybe we’d have a cow or goat. ” At the end of the book George kills Lennie. This is foreshadowing because Steinbeck is hinting that George would eventually kill Lennie as he said they’d kill an animal every weekend. In this case Lennie was constantly compared to an animal. This is effective as it reminds us that Lennie is like an animal and that George kills all sorts of animals which portrays the image that Lennie is going to be killed by George.
Another example of foreshadowing, is when George and Lennie are making their way to the ranch, George says to Lennie “If you jus’ happen to get in trouble like you always done before, I want you to come right here an’ hide in the brush. ” Towards the end of the book Lennie goes back to the bush and George kills him there. This piece of foreshadowing is vital because it almost definitely tells us that Lennie is going to get in trouble. When everyone starts to neglect Lennie, George kills him in a way that can be seen as euthanasia. Killing Lennie painlessly as there was no other way out.
This can be linked to another point of foreshadowing, where Carlson says “The way I’d shoot him, he wouldn’t feel nothing. I’d put the gun right there. Right back of the head. He wouldn’t even quiver. ” This shows that George was loyal to Lennie and cared for him as he didn’t want him to get hurt, but just wanted to end all of Lennie’s suffering. This also ties in with the fact that as everyone started to spite Lennie, George helped him and supported him just like a father would do with his child. This father-figure theme has travelled through the whole novel and is used well by Steinbeck at the end.
Furthermore, Lennie gets into trouble at numerous stages in the book and when he kept on stroking mice and always killed them, it was linked back to when he allegedly raped a woman in Weed. This pattern continued when he was working at the ranch, this time with Curley’s wife. “Oh, that’s nice,” and he stroked harder. Oh that’s nice. ” Lennie said. “You stop it now, you’ll mess it all up. ” Let go,” she cried. “You let go! ” This is especially effective as it constantly hints that he was going to kill someone by stroking, as he killed countless mice, stroking them to death.
Knowing that Lennie is a bit mentally unstable, I think it is Curley’s wife’s fault for inviting him to stroke her hair. She intentionally tempted him to touch her hair and received the consequences. Steinbeck also uses settings that make the novel interesting and lure the reader to the book. Crooks, the stable buck, is the only coloured character in the book and is not treated well and reflects how segregated America was during the Great Depression. Crooks slept in a separate room and had a terrible bed. “A long bunk filled with straw. “His bunk was in the harness room; a little shed that leaned of the wall barn. ” This clearly shows that Crooks was not as well respected as the others were and that he was given accommodation that an animal would get because he is black. He is seen as not being equal and is a low class person who is not cared about. It is interesting that Steinbeck chooses to start the novel describing the place which he was born in and knew very well. “A few miles south of Soledad, the Salinas River drops in close to the hillside bank and runs deep and green. It is clever how he mentions Soledad in the beginning and it sets the perfect layout for the story. Soledad means Spanish loneliness and this is really intriguing as the main theme of the story is loneliness, especially on Lennie. Steinbeck’s choice was well-thought as he intelligently linked the loneliness with the isolation of Crooks and also the feeling of seclusion in Curley’s wife which made her want company from Lennie. In addition, at the start of the sixth chapter the description of the setting almost literally summarises the whole chapter.
A topic sentence if you like. “The deep green pool of the Salinas River was still in the late afternoon. Already the sun had left the valley to go climbing up the slopes of the Gabilan Mountains, and the hilltops were rosy in the sun. But by the pool among the mottled sycamores, a pleasant shade had fallen. ” This paragraph has many details which point to failure and the dream disappearing. The stillness of the river in late afternoon represents death, danger and the fact that tension is rising.
The point that the sun had left the valley is personification and brings an awareness that the dream had vanished and nothing good was left. The bit about the pleasant shade that had fallen is a big indication that there was something good, but that was now in the past and only bad was going to happen. Finally, in conclusion Steinbeck’s uses of foreshadowing and settings are extremely effective not only on the reader, but on the characters. The view of the characters is reflected on the settings and brings each and every one of them to life.