John Steinbeck uses foreshadowing through out the story of “Of Mice and Men” to prepare the reader for the final scene. Foreshadowing is the composition of layered hints or clues about what may happen in the future of the story. Early in the story, these lines or events suggest a wide range of possibilities to the audience. But as the story progresses, the range narrows. In order for the impact of foreshadowing to be effective, the audience has to be both surprised by the climax of the story and find it logical.
The logic comes from foreshadowing. Steinbeck uses foreshadowing in the course of “Of Mice and Men” by pulling together past events in the story, to build to the ending impact and overall importance and effect of the final scene.
In the first chapters, it is apparent that Lennie is a simple minded man who likes to pet things that are soft and delicate. George and Lennie are traveling through to the farm for work.
They had to escape from the town they were previously at because Lennie had an incident with one of the women in the town. He was a rather large, frightening fellow. He went up to a young women because the beauty of her dressed marveled him. Just as he did with mice, he insisted on touching it. That is all. Because of her frightened screams, he grabbed onto the dress and did not let go out of fear and panic. This led him into much trouble and the townspeople to go after him. George took Lennie and they escaped the town. This is foreshadowing to the ending scene because once again, Lennie just had to have a touch and once again, led him to trouble that even George could not fix.
When Carlson insisted on killing Candy’s old worn dog friend, it was foreshadowing to the final scene in which all of the men insisted on searching and killing Lennie. Although Candy deep down knew that his dog was beyond his years and was suffering day to day, it was hard for him to accept it and let go. His dog was his only true friend. The same is true about Lennie and George’s relationship. Although George knows what Lennie has done is wrong, and that if he were to remain around or alive that he would just suffer more with his conscience and the other men searching for him. Candy feels that he should have been the one to take his best friend out of the world in which he played such a great part in. This is foreshadowing to the time that George is faced with the same decision. George feels it is his job and right to have the choice to be the one to kill Lennie. George kills him quickly and painlessly, without the suffering that the other men wished to cast upon him.
Steinbeck uses foreshadowing in the course of “Of Mice and Men” by pulling together past events in the story, to build to the ending impact and overall importance and effect of the final scene. At the beginning, Lennie gets in the middle of mass confusion when he approaches a woman and tries to stroke her soft dress. George then collected Lennie and they both escaped town. This is foreshadowing to the ending scene because once again, Lennie just had to have a touch and once again, led him to trouble that even George could not fix. Another example of foreshadowing is when Carlson kills Candy’s dog who was past his time. Candy said he should have been the one to do it. This foreshadows George’s decision with Lennie. Although he knows he needs to do it, it is just to painful.