In this short Novel Of Mice and Men, author John Steinbeck uses symbolism to demonstrate the hardships that people had to deal with during the Depression. Rabbits represent Lennie’s dreams and the impossibility of it being fulfilled. Rabbits are a fraught symbol: we know Lennie is excited about them because they’ll be furry and lovely to pet, but we also know that Lennie tends to hurt whatever he pets. Rabbits are simply Lennie’s hopes and dreams and the rabbits are revealing his every thought. When George first tells Lennie about their dream farm, it is Lennie’s trigger to tell him about the rabbits.
When George thinks about the farm he thinks of freedom from working; not worrying about surviving and happiness because they wouldn’t have to worry about them starving because they would have all the things to plant and raise livestock. For Lennie, it is only about the soft things. Through evidence, the audience knows these rabbits will likely be added to Lennie’s telltale trail of small and dead animals, symbolizing Lennie’s inability to see patterns in his life and to recognize that failure is imminent. This doesn’t bode well for him and he knows it.
Mice represent the false hope of a safe space for Lennie or as comfort. When Lennie was comfort he would pet something he thought that was soft, and he links them to his Aunt Carla. Mice also make it very clear that he suffers from hurting something he loves so dearly. In the title it gives a huge hint that this book has to do with mice and the first one we encounter is a dead one. And that gives us a huge indicator that Lennie doesn’t really care or worry about death, all he cares about is comfort. Remember at the ending he would be more comfortable dead by his own friend’s gentle hand than with a violet end form Curley.
Also know that symbolism are not just about animals in this novel, the settings are a huge factor in symbolism too. Like the pool by the river is the place where this story began and where it also ended too. It is a safe place free from people and where Lennie and George can be their regular selves without getting judged. The dream farm is symbolic of Lennie and George’s friendship. It is the only thing that keeps them together and keeps them working for other people so that they would be free, even if times were hard they would push through it.
It is, ultimately, their version of heaven, so that when Lennie kills a human being, their chances of going to heaven or their dream house is forever ruin. Steinbeck is a great writer beacues he incorporates symbolism in his books. He makes things symbolize beyond their literal meaning. Rabbits are represented as dreams, mice are the false hope that Lennie clings to and these are relatable to anyone now. These hardships during the Deprression can be carried over to now because of Steinbeck’s use of symbolism.