In John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, what kind of rabbits did Lennie want?

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kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is a passage early in Steinbeck's classic of American literature Of Mice and Men in which George and Lennie are discussing, for who knows how many times, their plans for the future and the latter's desire for pet rabbits he can lovingly pet. George has clearly tired of listening to his overgrown and mentally diminished friend's dream of owning his own rabbits, but continues to suffer through yet another discussion with the only "family" the more diminutive but infinitely smarter individual possesses. As the two lay next to each other preparing to sleep, Lennie notes that he wants "different color rabbits," to which George responds, "Sure we will. . .Red and blue and green rabbits, Lennie." Lennie than adds that he wants his rabbits to be furry, "like the ones I seen in the fair in Sacramento."

Lennie, of course, will never own rabbits on a farm with George. Steinbeck's novel is a tragedy. Lennie is a giant with no concept of his own physical strength -- a shortcoming that has repeatedly resulted in the accidental deaths of rabbits and mice in the past, and will result in a far greater tragedy in the near future. His love of rabbits, however, is a product of his simple nature and of his eternal innocence.