What is an instance of foreshadowing in chapter 1 or 2 of Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck?

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Steinbeck uses a lot of foreshadowing throughout his story. Even the title Of Mice and Men foreshadows trouble because the author is obviously suggesting that the plans of George and Lennie to have their own farm are destined to be thwarted, just like those of the little mouse in Robert Burns' famous poem "To a Mouse."

In Chapter 1 the most significaant foreshadowing has to do with George telling Lennie what to do if he should get into trouble at the ranch where they will start working the next day. An important quote is the following:

"'Course you did. Well, look. Lennie--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."

As the reader naturally expects, Lennie does get into trouble and comes to hide in the brush, where George will know exactly where to find him in the last chapter and where he will kill him. The fact that this story begins and ends in the same peaceful spot by the river gives it an aestheticzlly satisfying symmetry.

In Chapter 2 the most important foreshadowing has to do with Curley, who takes an immediate dislike to Lennie. When Curley leaves the bunkhouse, Candy tells George:

"Well . . . tell you what. Curley's like a lot of little guys. He hates big guys.  He's alla time picking scraps with big guys. Kind of like he's mad at 'em because he ain't a big guy. You seen little guys like that, ain't you? Always scrappy?"

George responds:

"But this Curley punk is gonna get hurt if he messes around with Lennie."

With all this foreshadowing (which adds dramatic tension to a potentially dull story about life on a ranch), the reader feels assured that there is going to be a showdown between Curley and Lennie.

Soledad which is the geographical location, means loneliness in Spanish and before the action in the story has even taken place, Steinbeck foreshadows to the reader a key theme in the story.

rr-19 | Student

the 'Salinas' River is the setting in Ch.1, Salinas means lonely and in the end everyone ends up alone; even george and lennie.

lennie kills the mouse in Ch1. this then leads to bigger killings (the puppy and Curleys wife.

in Ch2 just after Candy has been caught listening to george and lennie, it  says "the dog struggled lamely". this forshadows the dogs death later in Ch3.

when curleys being described, he has 'tightly curled hair' which resembles springs. he is also has a subtle boxing stance which shows that he's ready to fight for any little excuse. this foreshadows the fight scene between curley and lennie just for the small reason that lennie was smiling to himself.

in Ch2, when curley's wife first appears it says, "the rectangle of sunshine in the doorway was cut off." sunshine and light represent hope and this symbolises her killing the dream because its her fault that lennie killed her.

there is a connection between candy and his dog. at the end of Ch2, the chapter before the dog dies,  it says ' the grizzled head sank to the floor again.' candy mirrors the same action at the end of Ch5 which could show the possibility of Candy's death.