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Steinbeck's use of foreshadowing is not only a plot device; it is also a stylistic tool. Foreshadowing builds up drama. As the events and warnings accumulate, we readers are put on the edge of our seats waiting for the tragic event that must be coming. In that sense, Lennie's killing at the end is not so much a climax for us as a release from our anticipation of the event. It is almost a relief to feel sadness instead of worry at the end of the book.
13. As members of the working class and as ranch hands, George and Lennie are almost servants of the land. Like Adam and Eve after eating the apple, they must work for their daily bread instead of experiencing the joys of the Garden of Eden before the fall from grace. They long for a return to Eden. They want to be owners. They want the land to be their servant and to give them something freely. Their paradise need be only a few acres and a few animals, including rabbits. They want to run their own lives for a change and not have to work so hard just to get by. This is what the image of "living off the fat of the land" means. Unfortunately, in the time of the Depression, the land isn't fat. There isn't very much to live off of.
14. All of the characters in the novel have been discussed in detail in The Characters section of this guide and in the analyses of Chapters 2 and 5. You might want to study these discussions to help develop your essay for this topic.
15. The play form of Of Mice and Men ends on a high dramatic note-George's shooting of Lennie, a tragedy and a great show of love on George's part. The audience is left in a very emotional mood. In the novel, Steinbeck wants to get beyond the emotion. He wants to show that life will go on for George and the other characters. George's life will be emptier now, but it will continue. George illustrates this by lying about Lennie's death. He could have made a grand gesture and described how he killed Lennie as a sign of love. But he chooses not to. Steinbeck seems to be saying that loneliness and not love is the dominant feeling in the world of Of Mice and Men. He lets Carlson express the last thought in the book, one filled with cynicism. Mice, not men, live in this world.