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The novella Of Mice and Men written by John Steinbeck takes place in Soledad, California around the time of the Great Depression. George Milton and Lennie Small are two farm workers who move from place to place in order to find employment. In the novella, John Steinbeck often uses foreshadowing to hint at future events that will occur throughout the story. Foreshadowing is often used to highlight friendship and death.
One example of foreshadowing John Steinbeck uses is the death of Candy’s dog. Candy’s dog’s death foreshadows that George will kill Lennie. Candy’s dog and Lennie both were shot to put them out of their misery. Candy is pressured by Carlson and told by Slim that his dog should be shot to put him out of his misery. When Carlson shoots Candy’s dog, Candy becomes upset that he let someone else shoot his dog. On page 61 Candy says ” I ought to of shot that dog myself”. At the end of Of Mice and Men George does not let Curley or anybody else shoot Lennie and does it himself. If George didn’t shoot Lennie, he would have been locked up and he would have suffered. George did not want his friend to suffer and thought it was the right decision to kill him even though he really didn’t want to. In the final paragraph of the story, Slim tells George ” You hadda, George. I swear you hadda.”
Another example of how John Steinbeck uses foreshadowing throughout Of Mice and Men is Lennie picking up and carrying the dead mouse. The novella opens with Lennie and George walking down the bank of the Salinas River. While they are walking Lennie picks up a dead mouse and starts petting it because it is soft. Towards the end of the story, Lennie is sitting in the barn by himself with his dead puppy when Curley’s wife walks in. Lennie tries not to talk to her but she convinces him she will do no harm and they start to talk. Lennie and Curley’s Wife have a conversation about petting “sof” things. Lennie tells Curley’s wife on page 90 ” I like to pet nice things with my fingers, sof’ things”. Curley’s wife allows Lennie to pet her hair and Lennie starts to become aggressive. Curley’s wife starts to scream and Lennie panics and grabs her as she starts to scream. Lennie doesn’t know his own strength and starts to strangle her, accidentally snapping her neck and killing her.
Finally, foreshadowing can be seen when George tells Lennie what to do if he does a bad thing. George tells Lennie to hide in the brush if he gets into serious trouble. On page 15 George tells Lennie, ” Lennie–if you just’ happen to get in trouble like you always done before, I want you to come right here and’ hide in the brush”. George makes sure that Lennie is certain on where to go and what to do. This shows that something important and bad will happen later on in the story. When Lennie kills Curley’s wife he remembers what George said and runs out of the barn to the brush.
John Steinbeck uses many examples of foreshadowing throughout Of Mice and Men. Steinbeck hints at many important events that will occur later on in the story. This foreshadowing previews events that will involve George and Lennie in future situations.. John Steinbeck uses foreshadowing to hint that something bad will happen when George tells Lennie to hide in the brush. Foreshadowing leads to Lennie’s death and the death of Curley’s wife.

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