What are some similes in Of Mice and Men?    

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There's a particularly wonderful simile in the opening pages when Steinbeck is describing the flat, featureless landscape against which the subsequent action will take place:

On the sand banks, the rabbits sat as quiet as little gray, sculptured stones.

This is a particularly effective simile as it conveys the sense of quiet and stillness of this part of the world. Straight away, we're given the impression that this is a place where not much happens. The stage is being set for George and Lennie's sudden arrival in this oasis of calm, which thanks to them won't be calm for much longer.

Talking of Lennie, here's another animal simile which perfectly encapsulates his character:

[B]ut he's sure a hell of a good worker. Strong as a bull.

The first part of this statement is indeed true. But it's the bit about his being strong as a bull that really captures the imagination. For Lennie is indeed strong; it's one of his main characteristics. In fact, he doesn't know his own strength, which gets him into a lot of trouble.

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A simile is a type of figurative language which makes a comparison between two things using the words like or as. Like a metaphor, a simile seeks to show the qualities of one thing by comparing it to something quite different. Steinbeck often uses figurative language in his novella Of Mice and Men and similes are spread throughout the text in the third person narration (much of the novel is told through dialogue).

In chapter one, Lennie is described as being like a horse. In fact, Steinbeck frequently uses animal imagery to portray the big man:

His huge companion dropped his blankets and flung himself down and drank from the surface of the green pool; drank with long gulps, snorting into the water like a horse.

Also in chapter one, a simile is used to describe a snake which is part of the setting in the area between the Gabilan Mountains and Salinas River where George and Lennie camp:

A water snake slipped along on the pool, its head held up like a little periscope.

A little later in chapter one, Steinbeck uses a simile to reinforce the animal imagery in his description of Lennie:

Slowly, like a terrier who doesn’t want to bring a ball to its master, Lennie approached, drew back, approached again. 

At the beginning of chapter two, Steinbeck uses a simile when he describes the setting of the bunkhouse where George and Lennie come to live while they work on the ranch:

At about ten o’clock in the morning the sun threw a bright dust-laden bar through one of the side windows, and in and out of the beam flies shot like rushing stars.

Also in chapter two he uses a simile to characterize Curley's wife:

Her hair hung in little rolled clusters, like sausages. 

In chapter three, just before the fight between Lennie and Curley, Carlson makes a derogatory comment about Curley, suggesting he's a coward:

You’re yella as a frog belly. 

Later in that chapter, Lennie, under George's direction, goes after Curley, who has been mercilessly punching the big man. Lennie grabs Curley's hand and Steinbeck uses a simile to show the action:

The next minute Curley was flopping like a fish on a line, and his closed fist was lost in Lennie’s big hand. 

In chapter five, Steinbeck again uses the fish comparison when Lennie is accidentally killing Curley's wife:

“Don’t you go yellin’,” he said, and he shook her; and her body flopped like a fish.

In chapter six, Steinbeck uses a simile in his description of the setting. The chapter takes the reader back to the area near the Salinas River which was also the setting of the first chapter. Steinbeck writes:

A far rush of wind sounded and a gust drove through the tops of the trees like a wave. 

Finally, Steinbeck once more emphasizes the animal imagery when depicting Lennie:

Suddenly Lennie appeared out of the brush, and he came as silently as a creeping bear moves. 

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