How does Steinbeck prepare us for the tragic ending in ‘Of Mice and Men’ Essay
Steinbeck prepares us for the tragic ending in ‘of mice and men’ right the way through the book. Lenny is the focus of all bad things to come and is a central character in the novel. First up there was the incident in ‘Weed’ where Lenny ‘stroked a woman’s red dress’ and she accused Lenny of raping her. This shows they make a habit of running away from places and people when Lenny often gets into trouble.
‘an you ain’t gonna do no bad things like you did in weed neither’.
‘they run us outta weed’.
Those things show situations for the future and also show the dire situation they are in at the present, they are fugitives with Lenny committing the crimes and George helping him to get away because of their solid companionship in which both are each others only companions.
The situation in weed also shows that Lenny likes stroking anything and anyone that is soft and once he has hold of someone or an it he can’t let go.
This is also shown with the mice where Lenny ‘pets’ them too hard.
‘uh-uh jus a dead mouse’. He doesn’t seem to fully understand the value of life nor regret his murders. This is not because he is malicious but because he is in fact ‘mentally ill’. His strength is beyond his control and this can create very dangerous situations for him and others around him, maybe even for-seeing murder here.
The pup’s yet another example, this animal is also part of Lenny’s worrying fetish, here it is shown that he is too dangerous for even bigger animals in chapter five where he kills a pup. Lenny shows violence here towards the pups which he seems to love and have affection for, he thinks if the pup had not died (through no fault of it’s own) then George would’ve let him tend the rabbits and everything would be smiley again.
All Lenny cares about is the rabbits and this predicts that maybe Lenny will do something destructive with the rabbits welfare In mind because he cares about them that much. ‘I’ll break their (anyone) god damn necks if they touch the rabbits he says defensively showing aggression.
The bad mood Lenny is in sets him up to be calmed down by someone/something. Unfortunately this somebody/something appears to be Curley’s wife. Curley’s wife is another central character in the preparation of an ‘all tears’ ending, she messes things for everybody and everything, ‘I knew she’d do us in the end’ George says resignedly after her death. She doesn’t show any sign of stopping when she on her role of misery-making and it all leads up to a climax of some sort, and ending maybe to all the pain and suffering each and everybody is going through, putting their minds at rest.
Curley’s wife flirts as a meaning of talking to normal people, this is because she has not talked to other females and has not obtained any other skill so far in her short life, the men don’t like her and thinks shes a tart because of this but still find her attractive and Lenny is no different in this respect, ‘she’s purty’ (pretty) he says with delight while looking at her body up and down, listening to her tender voice and looking at her silky hair, instantly she becomes an obvious unintentional target for Lenny’s animals like affections and the antics what go with this along with her ‘red dress’ and ‘red mule feathers’ which also attracts Lenny.
When Curley’s wife soothes Lenny and calms him down she doesn’t know what she’s letting herself in for, she thinks he’s a harmless ‘dum-dum’. She talks to him in the first place because she is lonely and in return for listening to her Curley’s wife lets Lenny stroke her hair which in turn triggers Lenny’s ‘can’t let go approach’ and he eventually kills her. We almost knew this was going to happen before it did because it resembles the weed incident too closely.
Lenny had done a ‘really bad thing’ George says. A mistake of the highest degree. The death of a human being had occurred.
After this George doesn’t even consider them going on the run together, here Steinbeck spells out the end of Lenny’s life indefinitely.
George knows that Lenny can’t get away with it and says ‘we can’t let him get away with it this time’ showing what’s coming up next.
Lenny’s death is now inevitable, George doesn’t want Lenny to get hunted down and ‘lynched’ like a wild animal but wants Lenny to die painlessly and dignified. This calls for Gorge to take control as anyway Lenny’s death is inevitable George decides to kill Lenny himself, humanely.
Candy’s dog also showed signs of what happened to people who had no use in the ranch-place of work and it got shot just like Lenny would later be. If anything was learnt by the shooting of Lenny’s dog then it would have to be not to let a stranger kill someone who you care about. George deliberately took Carlson’s Luger as he set out of to kill Lenny himself.
Steinbeck also uses the scenery to prepare us for the death of Lenny, the surrounding are beautiful, day turns to dusk and everything is moving along swiftly. The wind picks up in the background and a heron takes off this signifies an event is about to take place. The reader always knew that Lenny would die at the brush because that’s the place where he would go when he got in trouble and that’s how George would find him. George sensed it was going to be needed early on in the novel again preparing us for the ending.
In the end the cards mapped out the future in a sad way, while George was playing ‘solitaire’ which again signifies their loneliness playing a one man game, Lenny picks up a card and asks why the card looks the same both ways up. George replies ‘that’s jus the way they make em’. He is saying that you can’t change what is inevitable just like Lenny’s impending doom. It is ironic that Lenny asks this question and George gives the answer because that is exactly what happens in the end.