Of Mice and Men Questions and Answers
by John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men book cover
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What symbolic meaning do the horses have in the stables? They are frequently described during the scenes in the barn with Crooks and Lennie, and then again described in the talk between Curley's wife and Lennie.

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Nature is symbolic in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men.  The horse stable is important because it is where Crooks is forced to live.  Lennie and Crooks are alike in that they are both outcasts from society, though for different reasons. Crooks lives with the animals in the stable, and through him a stronger connection between the animals and Lennie is established.  The horses are strong creatures that are confined in a small space.  Like Lennie, they can inflict great harm without really intending to do so.  It is in the stables that Lennie accidentally kills Curley's wife.  He is much like a wild animal that is unable to conform or fit into society's constraints. 

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