The Title of Mice and Men
How it works
Foreshadowing is used by hundreds of great writers to elevate their writing to the next level. John steinbeck uses foreshadowing in Of Mice And Men many times throughout the whole book. John steinbeck incorporates foreshadowing to hint at the tragic ending by foreshadowing their plans going askew, the unintentional deaths, their unrealistic dreams, and the merciful deaths in the book.
The title Of Mice and Men is foreshadowing to the ending and an allusion to a poem by Robert Burns called To a Mouse.
The title comes directly from a line in To a Mouse The best laid schemes of mice and men go often askew(Robert Burns). Since the title is an allusion, to plans going askew it is foreshadowing of the peoples plans going askew in the book. As you continue reading the foreshadowing in the title fits in well with the foreshadowing in the book. Thus the title does a great job of foreshadowing how George and Lennie’s plans go askew in the end of the book just like the mouses plans went askew in To a Mouse.
Another form of foreshadowing used in the book was the unintentional killings leading to the ending. In document B pet it like it was a mouse we are shown examples of how Lennie kills animals unintentionally leading up to curley’s wife’s death. The unintentional killing of the small animals Lennie pets foreshadowed the unintentional murder of curley’s wife when Lennie unintentionally broke her neck. It seems like steinbeck wanted the readers to understand whatever Lennie petted dies as shown with the mouse(chapter 1) the puppy (chapter 5) and curley’s wife (chapter 5). This was a great way to foreshadow how curley’s wife died unintentionally like most things Lennie petted.
One key detail in the story is the dream of owning a little piece of land that George and Lennie have, which happens to be foreshadowing of unrealistic dreams and expectations. In the book it is said Every damn one of’ em’s got a little piece of land in his head. An’ never a God damn one of’ em ever gets it (steinbeck ch 4). This foreshadows how George and Lennie won’t get their land just like everyone else who was unrealistic dreams. Since hundreds of others before them failed to get land it foreshadows how the land they want is unrealistic and they won’t get it. As a result of their unrealistic dreams they suffer in the end of the book mainly George.
The most interesting form of foreshadowing is with the mercy kills in the book. The book reads the way I’d shoot him, he wouldn’t feel nothing. I’d put the gun right here Right in the back of the head. He wouldn’t even quiver.(ch 3) and He brought the muzzle close to the back of lennie’s head He pulled the trigger.Lennie jarred,and then settled slowly forward to the sand, and he lay without quivering(ch 6). This is clearly an example of foreshadowing as the similarities in how Carlson kills Candy’s dog and how George kills Lennie are vast. One great similarity is the quivering in both chapters 3 and 6 the dead don’t quiver. This example of foreshadowing is probably the most well known in the book because of the mercy killings that happen at the end and beginning.
The big theme in Of Mice and Men is loss and pain. The foreshadowing in the book only adds to the effectiveness of this message. John steinbeck uses foreshadowing to make his point more clear and advance how the theme is portrayed in his book.