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Foreshadowing, which involves clues and hints that suggest what will happen later in the plot, often uses weather or light and dark imagery to set the tone for future occurrences. Here are examples of foreshadowing in Chapter Three of Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men:
- At dusk Slim and George enter the bunkhouse which is darkening. Reaching up, Slim turns on a light that casts light over the card table, but leaves the "corners of the bunk house still in dark." This repeated mention of "dark" suggests that something ominous will occur.
- As Slim converses with George, he remarks at how strong Lennie is; George tells Slim that Lennie can do anything he is told if it does not involve "figuring." Here the reader understands that Lennie has superior strength, but cannot reason well, two conditions that can bring problems.
- George's story about the trouble that Lennie got into in Weeds certainly hints at a future scenario, (epecially considering the way that Curley's wife conducts herself in the previous chapter):
"Well, this girl squawks and squawks...an' by that time Lennie's so scared all he can think to do is jus' hold on....And hes' so...strong, you know."
- The shooting of Candy's dog suggests that Candy himself may outlive his usefulness. Because he is worried that he may be thrown out, Candy wants to join Lennie and George in their plans for a ranch of their own. In addition, the putting of the dog out of its misery, hints at the mercy killing of Lennie in the final chapter.
- Curley's wife comes around to the bunkhouse again. George say prophetically,
She's gonna make a mess. They's gonna be a bad mess about her. She's a jail bait all set on the trigger....Ranch with a bunch of guys on it ain't no place for a girl, specially like her."
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