The classic American novel Of Mice and Men is a great example of allusion to another author’s work. Allusion is where an author refers to another work or existed work of literature in their work. John
Steinbeck is the author of the novel Of Mice and Men, and in this novel he alludes to Robert Burns’ poem To A Mouse. In To A Mouse it shows how schemes, or plans, of mice and men often go awry. Steinbeck uses this in his title of his American novel.
In the novel Of Mice and Men all of the main characters in the storyline have dreams or goals they want to accomplish throughout their life. The character named George has a great example of a dream or goal to accomplish. George wants to get a patch of his own land, because he does not like living in a bunkhouse on a farm. Like every other characters dream in Steinbeck’s novel, it goes awry, or wrong. The determined, mean, and little boxer named Curly has an ambitious dream of being a boxer. After getting into a fight in the bunkhouse, Curly hears Lennie laughing. Assuming Lennie is laughing at him, he picks a fight and starts hitting Lennie. Lennie ends up crushing Curly’s hand, crushing his dream of becoming a boxer.
Crooks is a black, crippled old fellow. He lives in the stables by the farm animals, showing how he is looked upon in society back then. Crooks was nothing better than a farm animal, and he just wants to be equal. His dream of being equal goes awry when Curly’s tart wife threatens him with her superiority as a woman, and the things she could say. Curly’s wife wants to be a great actress in the movies. She tells Lennie that she is tired of being with Curly and wants to get out of the bunkhouse sometime. Curly’s wife then starts showing off her shiny, soft hair to Lennie as they are talking. Curly’s wife eventually gets her neck snapped when Lennie will not let go of her hair, thus her dream of being in the movies, obviously, is not going to come true. All of these characters play a role in the theme of the book. Most of the characters, if not all of them are misfits. Every one of the characters has dreams; every single one of them goes awry.
Lennie Small is a fascinating character. He is no where near small, and cannot control his need to feel or pet soft items or people. Lennie, at the end of the novel, is put out of his misery and suffering just like Candy’s dog. Candy’s dog was old and getting worn out, with a dream to be young and live again. Why would Candy want the poor dog to suffer? George had this problem with Lennie. Why would George want Lennie to suffer the consequences of his actions when he does not know what he did was wrong. After all, Curly would just want him lynched like a misfit on a tree. George cannot let Lennie endure this pain and agony. Just like the dog, Lennie was put out of his life with Carlson’s luger. Lennie’s dream of tending the rabbits and having land went awry when he was shot. No more soft, furry rabbits for Lennie.
The settings found throughout Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men novel play a significant role to the plot. One of the settings is a pool of water surrounded by brush. This is where George tells Lennie to hide if he is ever in any trouble. The brush is also where Lennie’s dream of tending little rabbits goes awry, when he is shot with Carlson’s luger by George. The bunkhouse is like the farm pub. Everyone is introduced to George and Lennie here. The bunkhouse is also George and Lennie’s living quarter throughout this American novel. Inside this strange place, the character’s personalities and dreams are revealed. The barn is a sign of animalistic qualities in the storyline. Crooks lives like a farm animal in this barn. Curly’s wife has her neck brutally snapped by Lennie’s paws. Steinbeck often refers to Lennie’s hand as paws, showing the animalistic quality of Lennie and his actions.
Foreshadowing is an element most authors use in their novels or stories. Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men is no exception. Steinbeck uses multiple foreshadowing events in his novel. The first foreshadowing I noticed was that Lennie liked to pet soft things, such as a girl’s dress. George early on in the book asks Lennie about what is in his pocket. After a little argument, Lennie reveals a little dead rabbit in his pocket. The first foreshadowing event leads up to the next. If Lennie ever gets into trouble, George tells him to go to the brush by the pool, foreshadowing Lennie’s ultimate death. Carlson’s luger is the next foreshadowing event. Carlson is always cleaning his precious piece of metal and showing it off to the other residents of the bunkhouse. This luger, or gun, ends up being one of the causes for Lennie’s dream to go awry and the death of Candy’s dog.
Of Mice and Men includes numerous items that make it a good novel, and an American classic. It includes allusion, foreshadowing, and it ultimately teaches us a lesson. Not all of your dreams in life come true, and most go wrong. Just like George, Lennie, Curly, and Candy, our dreams too will go awry in our lifetime.