Animal and Human Nature in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men The relationship between animal nature and human nature in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men is a major theme throughout the work.Lennie and Candy are connected with animals via their various individual characteristics, such as physical appearance, mental capacity, or emotional maturity.
In the opening paragraphs of the novel, Steinbeck creates a picture of the natural world as a beautiful place which is disturbed by humans.
To begin with the rabbits ‘sat as quietly as little, gray sculptured stones’ but as Lennie and George approach the tranquillity is disturbed as the rabbits ‘run for cover’.
However, animals represent not only Lennie’s dream but also his downfall.
In the first section, Lennie’s child-like love of petting small creatures, particularly mice, is shown in some detail.
At the end, after George has shot Lennie and is walking away with Slim, it is Carlson who asks Curley what he thought was "eatin' them two guys? These two are bestial in their inability to empathize with anyone else, striving for nothing more than self-gratification and motivated by a sort of meanness and divisiveness.
Of Mice and Men How are animals and animal imagery used in Of Mice and Men?The small man stepped nervously beside him.” Steinbeck uses yet another animal to convey Lennie.• “Suddenly Lennie appeared out of the brush, and he came as silently as a creeping bear moves.” How does this scene compare with the one at the beginning of the book? • Crook predicts Lennie’s fate without George: “They’ll tie ya up with a collar, like a dog.” • After Curley’s ‘fight’ with Lennie: “The next minute, Curley was flopping like a fish on a line…” • (Lennie) “I wisht to get the rabbits soon” What do the rabbits symbolise for Lennie? she’s a rat trap if I ever seen one.” Why do you think Steinbeck uses the word ‘rat’ instead of ‘man’ here?Other characters, such as Curley and Carlson, demonstrate their animal-like natures in their interactions with others.Despite the obvious connection between the human natures and animal natures of the characters in the work, some of the characters attempt to rise above their bestial nature by dreaming and seeking companionship.Lennie is perhaps the most obvious example of an When they can me here, I wisht somebody'd shoot me" (Steinbeck 60).Curley and Carlson, like Lennie and Candy, are connected with animals, but in a much different manner. and lack all sensitivity, all compassion for those more helpless and weaker in mind and body than they are" (Johnson 16).Moreover, Lennie does not just pet small animals, he pets them to death.When George takes the dead mouse away from Lennie it is obviously not the first time that this has happened.Curley is extremely competitive, a trait that is evident in his desire to prove himself in a fight with Lennie and in his constantly asking where his wife is, as if he is competing with the other workers for her or demonstrating his "ownership" of her.Jealousy consumes him, and he lives as if he is subject to Darwin's theory of "survival of the fittest." He is a stereotypical bully.