A couple of acres , a cow and some pigs . Lennie dreams of tending rabbits . With the title Of Mice and Men’ , Steinbeck is telling you that this dream whilst on the verge of realization , will be destroyed by fate . It relates to Robert Burns’ poem To a Mouse’ . Burns and Steinbeck share the same pessimistic views on fate . In To a Mouse’ Burns shows that he believes that just as your dreams are about to come true , The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men ,’ fate will always strike , gang aft agley .
The last two lines ,’ An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain , for promis’d joy! , show that Burns believes that you’re worse off after your dreams have been crushed than you were beforeIn the story , almost anyone could be the mouse although the most obvious is George . I think this is a very well chosen title for this short story as if you know the poem you know more or less what is going to happen . Steinbeck’s technique of repetition is effective in that it builds up to the climax of the tragedy . The mouse Lennie had was dead . He had killed it unintentionally when petting it .
This situation is repeated further on in the story when Lennie is given a pup by Slim . Lennie had been playing with it and had hit the puppy for biting him . You know that an incident like this is going to be the downfall of George and Lennie . The episode in Weed also hints on future tragedy . Lennie sees a girl wearing a beautiful red dress and , child-like as he is , he wants to touch it . He grabs the dress and the girl lets out a loud scream .
He panics and all he can think of to do is hold on . He holds on until George arrives on the scene just in time and hits him on the head with a gatepost . The introduction of Curley’s wife adds another piece to the puzzle . Her description when she was standing at the doorway with her rouged lips’ , hair hung in little rolled clusters’ and cotton house clusters’ shows that she will be the one who destroys George and Lennie’s dream . This technique is simple but very effective . George had told Candy of his dream and Candy wanted in on it .
Candy had the money to purchase the land required from compensation received after his arm had been cut off by machinery . This moved them to the verge of achieving their dream . In my view the most successful technique in illustrating John Steinbeck’s view of fate is the symbolism in the last chapter . A watersnake glided smoothly up the pool , twisting its periscope head from side to side , and it swam the length of the pool and came to the legs of a motionless heron that stood in the shallows . A silent head and beak lanced down and plucked it out by the head , and the beak swallowed the little snake while its tail waved frantically .
The heron , motionless and waiting , represents fate while the watersnake , helpless and unaware , is its victim . Steinbeck’s view on fate is illustrated again by the word choice . Words like lanced , plucked and waiting suggest that Steinbeck believes that fate striking is almost medical ; sure and precise . The watersnake could represent almost anyone in the novel although it is most likely that it represents George . The heron represents fate , but also Lennie as he was the one who was always going to destroy George’s dream .
In conclusion I consider the main theme to be fate . I consider the symbolism of the watersnake and the heron to be the most successful technique in putting across Steinbeck’s pessimistic views on the subject .