Lennie wants a rabbit.  Why does the author mention rabbits at this early stage in the book?

Expert Answers
coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This early introduction of the plan that Lennie and george are working towards in the novel "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck is partly for foreshadowing purposes and partly to show us Lennie's personality and challenges. The mention of the rabbit foreshadows the dream the men have, which is set out in greater detail later, about the American Dream of retiring comfortably on the fruits of one's successful labors to a stretch of land one actually owns- in their case to raise rabbits and crops. Another reason is that the author wishes to show us Lennie's childish stage of mental development where he still likes to pet things. Of course, this in itself is foreshadowing the behavior that kills an unsuspecting woman later.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I believe that the author mentions rabbits so early in the story because they are a huge part of the dream that Lennie and George are chasing.  They are planning to, or at least hoping to, have this farm where they can live and Lennie can take care of the rabbits.

I think rabbits are also important because they are a kind of small fuzzy little thing that Lennie wants.  He tends to get these things and then kill them accidentally.  I think that it is important for us to know how interested he is in rabbits because every time he accidentally kills something you wonder how he's ever going to take care of the rabbits.