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Of Mice and Men

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It is not unusual for a young child to imitate the sounds and actions of many different animals. The way kids crawl around and make strange noises can easily be compared to animals but as they grow those qualities go away. Even though Lennie from Of Mice and Men, is an adult he still has those animalistic characteristics that all kids posses. In the novella Steinbeck applies imagery to portray Lennie’s physical features and actions as animalistic rather than human.

The first example of sight imagery that Steinbeck employs is how Lennie’s physicality is described as being more like a bear than a human. From early on in the novella, based on the author's vivid descriptions that Lennie is larger than the average man. Since Lennie’s build is very broad “he walk[s] heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws”(2). Words like “dragging” and “heavily” help the reader to visualize the massive size of Lennie. “Lennie appeared out of the brush, and he came silently as a creeping bear moves,”(100) shows how Lennie not only is physically built like a bear but also acts like one and can be mistaken for one. Steinbeck’s use of sight imagery provides vivid comparisons of how Lennie’s physical build is more like a bear’s than a human’s.

Steinbeck utilizes sound imagery to emphasize how the actions of Lennie compare more to a horse than a human. When George and Lennie arrive at the stream Lennie automatically “drank with long gulps, snorting into the water like a horse”(3). George quickly tries to get Lennie to slow down and drink normally but, “ Lennie continue[s] to snort into the pool”(3). By Steinbeck using words like “snorting” it is clear to the readers that Lennie doesn’t do normal things that other people do, instead of drinking he is snorting and gulping the water. Sound imagery such as “gulps” and “snorting” are used to imply how Lennie’s sounds compare to a horse’s.

The final example of Steinbeck revealing Lennie’s animalistic behavior is through Lennie’s need to be close to george and his natural instincts which are similar to a terrier dog. George has always been around for Lennie which helps Lennie to be loyal to



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