Thematic significance of symbols in Of Mice and MenSymbols are objects, characters, figures, and colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts. An allegory is a story that uses character types torepresent specific ideas and create a universal message. In the story Of Mice and Men, author, John Steinbeck, uses his characters, locations, and animal imagery todemonstrate to his readers that most people dream about lives of great significance. The firm and abstract ideas brought to life in the men on the ranch, the dreamfarm, and the rabbits all tie together the themes of the nature of human dreams, barriers, and powerlessness. George and Lennie are the only two characters in the novel who are described in any detail. The other characters are all types, or people whom the readermight recognize as one of a certain group. Even the names of the characters, short and descriptive, say something about them. Lennie Small, for instance, is anythingbut small physically, and other characters seem to notice and comment on that. His brain is small and his ability to reason is small but his body is huge and verypowerful. Curley?s wife has no name, indicating her powerless position on the ranch. Each of the characters represents a kind of person in American society and oftenone that is a victim of discrimination. For example, Crooks represents a segment of American society that is discriminated against because of race: Curley?s wifebecause of gender; Candy because of old age and physical handicap. Each of those minor characters impact, negatively or positively impact, Lennie?s and George?s dreamof having their own farm. Each of these characters also has some type of barrier like race, gender, or age. The dream farm, a paradise for men who want to be masters of their own lives, the farm represents the possibility of freedom, self-reliance, and protectionfrom the cruelties of the world. The dream farm is a location that does not exist in reality but is very real in the minds of Lennie and, eventually, George. Itbecomes a symbol for their relationship, and retelling of the dream has become a ritual. This is the place where George and Lennie will have self-respect andindependence. They will live off the fat of the land, and no one will tell them what to do. Lennie can have what he likes the best, soft rabbits to pet, and he willfeel safe. George can have a normal life that involves putting down roots and staying in one place. At the farm, George will also have an easier time keeping track ofLennie. When Candy offers the money to put down a payment, the symbol begins to become a reality. Unfortunately, the dream is an enchanted concept, and once itsreality becomes possible, it begins to die. Steinbeck also uses animal images in his story. Most often applied to Lennie, imagery is particularly apparent in his physical description. His hands are called pawsand indicate trouble when he uses them. He lumbers along like a bear in Steinbeck?s earliest descriptions of him. Lennie is also associated with rabbits, which arepart of his dream and because they are soft things he likes to pet. Rabbits also symbolize his realization that he is in trouble; if Lennie does a bad thing Georgewill not let him tend the rabbits. In the last scene, Lennie is at the pool, waiting for George, a rabbit appears to him, scolding him and telling him George will notlet him care for the rabbits. In this way, it helps the reader understand Lennie and why he often acts impulsively. In the novel Of Mice and Men the characters, locations, and animal imagery are symbols with thematic significance that establish to the reader that mostpeople dream about lives of great significance. But in reality, most humans? limitations keep these dreams from coming true, and in the long run, they are destined toexperience common lives. These limitations can be defined as barriers and powerlessness, two common themes in this novel.:
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