What are three similes from the first two chapters of Of Mice and Men?

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Steinbeck occasionally employs similes in the novel. As the following examples show, he tends to use them to add danger or mystery to a situation.

In chapter 1, the author writes that Lennie "drank with long gulps, snorting into the water like a horse." Like all the best similes, it has a strong relationship to the situation and the character. While this is the first time we learn about Lennie, through his comparison with a horse, we can immediately guess that he is somewhat animalistic in nature.

A few pages later, when Lennie and George are settling down for the night, the author writes that "a water snake slipped along on the pool, its head held up like a little periscope." This comparison with something that could potentially spy on the men is at odds with the secluded area they have found in which to lie and rest.

Then, around ten a.m. in the bunkhouse where Lennie and George are staying, the author writes that "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." By comparing the flies to rushing stars, the author creates an unexpectedly beautiful image that evokes a sense of life's transience.

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A simile is a literary device that makes a comparison between two different things using the words "like" or "as." Throughout the novella Of Mice of Men, Steinbeck utilizes numerous similes to describe characters and various settings of the story.

1. In chapter 1, George makes Lennie hand him the dead mouse he has been petting. Lennie reluctantly gives the mouse to George and begins to whimper and cry. George uses a simile to describe Lennie's reaction and compares him to an upset child by saying,

Blubberin' like a baby! Jesus Christ! (Steinbeck, 5).

2. At the beginning of chapter 2, Steinbeck sets the scene on the ranch by describing the dusty bunkhouse. Steinbeck utilizes a simile to illustrate how the sunlight barely shines into the bunkhouse by writing,

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" (9).

3. Later on in the chapter, George is playing cards, and Steinbeck utilizes another simile to describe the atmosphere of the bunkhouse by writing,

The sun square was on the floor now, and the flies whipped through it like sparks (14).

4. When Curley's wife enters the bunkhouse, Steinbeck utilizes a simile to describe her curly hair by writing,

Her hair hung in little rolled clusters, like sausages (15).

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A simile is a literary device that makes a comparison that shows the similarities between two different things.  A simile can be easily identified because the words "like" or "as" signal to readers that a comparison is going to be made.  Similes often help readers out because similes allow a greater amount of meaning and understanding to be placed with a relatively simple sentence.  

The similes that I have chosen from the first two chapters of the book all involve animals in the comparison.  The first simile is a description of Lennie and the way that he drinks water. 

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.

 The second simile happens about a page or two later.  George and Lennie have finished drinking from the pool, and the two men sit down on the sand to discuss their plans.  As they are sitting there, a water snake swims across the water.  It holds its head above the water, but the simile in the sentence really gives readers an excellent picture of what this particular water snake must look like. 

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

On the next page is one of my favorite similes of the book.  It compares Lennie to a dog that doesn't want to drop its favorite toy.  Lennie doesn't want to give George the mouse that he is holding.   

George's hand remained outstretched imperiously. Slowly, like a terrier who doesn't want to bring a ball to its master, Lennie approached, drew back, approached again. George snapped his fingers sharply, and at the sound Lennie laid the mouse in his hand.

If you've ever owned a dog and tried to teach the "drop" command, you know what Lennie looks like. 

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In the first chapter the narrator says that Lennie "walked heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws." In the next paragraph, Lennie drinks (from the green pool) "with long gulps, snorting into the water like a horse." A few pages later, George recalls the trouble they escaped from in Weed. "He took on the elaborate manner of little girls when they are mimicking one another." His verbal castigation of Lennie serves to inform the reader of exactly what happened in Weed. Most of the exposition in the novel is conveyed through dialogue because Steinbeck intended to adapt the book to a stage play to be produced in New York City.

In the second chapter, Candy gives George a thumbnail description of Curley, who has just been in the bunkhouse behaving in his characteristic domineering and pugnacious manner.

"Well . . . tell you what. Curley's like a lot of little guys. He hates big guys. . . ."

All four of these examples contain similes, although only two of them contain the word "like."

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