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Symbol - Foreshadowing. Chapter one is one of the most critical chapters in the novel. Although the reader doesn't realize it, it lays ground to the very foundation that is Of Mice and Men through foreshadowing. Introducing the Salinas valley as a beautiful outdoor riverbed on a hot day (that is also a temporary safe haven for Lennie and George) it is the exact opposite. Little do we know so far that one day the men will return here only for George to be forced to give his companion the easier way out - quick, painless death. Lennie will lay here for eternity along side the dead mouse he once playfully and ignorantly killed at the beginning of the story. "If you jus' happen to get in trouble like you always done before, I want you to come right here an' hide in the brush." (pg.15)
Theme: Loneliness. Loneliness is excellently shown at the beginning of the book. Through being run out of their previous town Weed, George and Lennie find themselves narrowly escaping an angry mob. Sitting together at the riverbed, they discuss how Lennie never intended to cause them to be run out of Weed by grabbing onto a girl. It shows they are misunderstood, lonely, and just seeking shelter and a feeling of safety. Lennie questions George as to they don't go and eat a better meal at the ranch, but George replies that he is contempt for the night. Lonely, but unwanting of further social interaction.
Characterization: George Georges character is introduced initially by warning Lennie not to drink too much water or he'd get sick, a parental trait that stays with him throughout the entirety of the novel. He lashes out at Lennie, claiming he'd be better off without him, Although this is obviously true, George retracts his statements and tells Lennie the story of their dream ranch to comfort him. This tells you a lot about Georges dedication to Lennie, and also gives insight to their unusual relationship.
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