The use of foreshadowing in “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" is a novel that explores the lives of two migrant workers, George and Lennie, who dream of owning a farm of their own. The novel is filled with moments of foreshadowing, which provide the reader with hints of what is to come. Steinbeck uses foreshadowing in "Of Mice and Men" to create tension, to build suspense, and to highlight the tragedy of the novel's ending.
One of the most significant instances of foreshadowing in the novel is the death of Candy's dog. The dog is old and sick, and Carlson suggests that Candy should put the dog out of its misery. Candy reluctantly agrees, and Carlson shoots the dog. This scene foreshadows the tragic ending of the novel, where George is forced to shoot Lennie to spare him from a worse fate.
The death of Curley's wife is another instance of foreshadowing. When Lennie and Curley's wife meet for the first time, she tells him about her dream of being a movie star. Lennie, who doesn't understand the significance of her dream, accidentally breaks her neck in a moment of panic. This scene foreshadows the end of the novel, where George and Lennie's dream of owning a farm is shattered, and Lennie is killed.
Another example of foreshadowing is the way Steinbeck describes the natural setting. The description of the Salinas River in the beginning of the novel, for example, highlights its beauty and its danger. Steinbeck writes, "The water is warm too, for it has slipped twinkling over the yellow sands in the sunlight before reaching the narrow pool." This description foreshadows the tragic ending of the novel, where Lennie drowns in the same river.
Steinbeck also uses the character of Curley to create a sense of foreshadowing. Curley is a violent man who is always looking for a fight. His aggressive behavior foreshadows the violence that takes place at the end of the novel, where George is forced to shoot Lennie to save him from a worse fate.
In conclusion, John Steinbeck's use of foreshadowing in "Of Mice and Men" is significant in creating tension, building suspense, and highlighting the tragedy of the novel's ending. Through the death of Candy's dog, the death of Curley's wife, the natural setting, and the character of Curley, Steinbeck provides the reader with hints of what is to come, leading up to the novel's tragic conclusion. Steinbeck's masterful use of foreshadowing makes "Of Mice and Men" a compelling and unforgettable read.