What are ten good examples of figurative language in Of Mice and Men, and how do each of them describe either a character or setting?John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Of Mice and Men, the great American writer, John Steinbeck, embellishes his narrative with figurative language:

  • Visual (colors) and auditory imagery, along with personification, is used in the opening paragraph, a description of the Salinas area:

1-2...the Slina River drops in close to the hillside bank and runs deep and green.  The water is warm...it has slipped twinkling over the yellow sands in the sunlight...the golden foothill slopes curve up to the strong and rocky Gabilan mountains [personification]...willows fresh and green...sycamores with mottled, white, recumbent limbs...

  • Animal imagery is employed in his description of Lennie Small, images that underscore the brute strength of the man and lower intelligence as Lennie is likened to a bear.  He is portrayed as "dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws."

3. His arms did not swing at his sides, but hung loosely....Lennie dabled his big paw in the water and wiggled his fingers so the wter arose in little splashes...

  • A metaphoric description of Slim, the mule-skinner is given in section 3:

4.George looked over at Slim and saw the calm, God-like eyes fastened on him.

 As Slim looks at Candy's old dog, there is a metaphoric affinity to an animal:

 5.He seemed to shake himself free for speech

  • Another metaphor is found in the beginning of Section 3:

6. Slim reached up over the card table and turned on the tin-shaded electric light.  Instantly the table was brillaint with light; and the cone of the shade  threw its brightness straight downward...

  • In Section 4, Crooks uses a simile when he taunts Lennie, \

7. They'll tie ya up with a collar, like a dog.

  • In a description of Crooks, figurative language is used:  

8.Crooks face lighted with pleasure in his torture.

  • In Section 4, the description of Curley's wife a simile is used,

 9.She breathed strongly, as though she had been running.

  • As the men grow angry with her, she looks from face to face

10.and they were all closed against her [metaphor]