What are two examples of animal imagery used to describe Lennie in the first few pages of Of Mice and Men?

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Lennie is compared to a bear and carries a dead mouse, foreshadowing the death of the puppy and Curley's wife.

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The first time we meet Lennie, he is contrasted with George: George is "defined" with "restless eyes" and "strong features." Lennie, on the other hand is "shapeless of face." Unlike George's quickness, Lennie moves slowly, dragging his feet "the way a bear drags his paws."

Lennie's first action is to lie down next to a pond covered with green scum and drink. He drinks "with long gulps, snorting into the water like a horse."

These images serve to establish Lennie as animalistic or subhuman. In the subsequent dialogue with George, it becomes clear that Lennie suffers some form of mental impairment. He has trouble remembering simple things (like where his work card is), or perhaps more accurately, the things Lennie thinks are important to remember (like the rabbits) are different than the things George thinks are important (like why they had to run away from the ranch in Weed).

Either way, Lennie's association with bears and horses suggests that, like them, he is a "dumb brute," a kind of beast of burden or a potentially dangerous animal. These images are problematic because Lennie is not an animal, of course, yet they signal that people perceive him as an animal and will treat him as such.

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When Lennie is introduced, he is described as "a huge man, shapeless of face, with large, pale eyes, with wide, sloping shoulders ... walk[ing] heavily." This description of him immediately suggests a large animal like a bear, especially when contrasted with the description of George. George is described as "small and quick," with eyes that are "restless ... and sharp." Steinbeck's description of George suggests a thinking man, whereas, by contrast, his description of Lennie suggests an entirely physical, unthinking presence. This description is made more explicitly animalistic when Lennie is described as dragging his feet "the way a bear drags his paws." This simile suggests that, like a bear, Lennie is physically powerful, but also not particularly thoughtful. Steinbeck also writes that Lennie's arms "hung loosely" at his sides, again suggesting a bear-like appearance and movement.

A little later in chapter 1, Lennie drinks from a pool of water, "snorting ... like a horse." Steinbeck uses another simile here to compare Lennie to an animal. A horse, relative to a human, is not especially intelligent, but a horse is also a beautiful, noble creature. The implication is thus that while Lennie may not be intelligent, he is, in his own way, beautiful and noble.

The way that George speaks to Lennie is very much like the way one might speak to an animal. George uses sharp, simple, exclamatory demands, such as "Lennie! ... Lennie ... don't drink so much." The way that George speaks to Lennie serves to emphasize Steinbeck's animalistic presentation of Lennie.

Steinbeck deliberately compares Lennie to a bear, and then to a horse, mostly to emphasize that Lennie is not a thoughtful creature—but also to suggest that he is, like an animal, innocent and noble. He is perhaps closer to an animal than he is to the other men on the ranch. He is less intelligent, but more noble. He is not at all calculating, like many of the other men, and although he kills Curley's wife, he is in a sense more innocent.

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Steinbeck likens Lennie to a horse and a coyote as well as a bear in the opening pages of the novel. He describes Lennie throwing himself on the ground and drinking in "long gulps" from a pool of water, "snorting into the water like a horse." Lennie's animal-like behavior worries George, who has more capacity to think ahead and plan than his mentally-handicapped friend. While the thirsty Lennie impulsively throws himself into drinking the water, George warns hims not to consume it so fast or he'll end up sick. George also notes that the water looks "scummy" and may not be good.  A little while later, George says to Lennie that "somebody'd shoot you for a coyote." He mentions this after Lennie offers to run off when George states that it is a problem to have to care for him. Lennie's tendency to act without thinking will lead him into trouble later, trouble that means people will, in fact, go after him to shoot him.  

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Steinbeck uses simile, metaphor and other imagery to describe the setting and characters in Of Mice and Men. In the first few pages of the book, Steinbeck describes George and Lennie. Steinbeck often compares Lennie to animals. On the first page, Steinbeck writes, "he walked heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws." This allows the reader to see that Lennie is very large and perhaps a bit uncoordinated as he is walking. It is an important comparison because Lennie seems to be very slow and innocent, but does have the ability to be dangerous like a bear. Another instance of comparing Lennie to an animal is also in the first chapter when it is said that, "Lennie dabbled his big paw in the water." Again, this comparison demonstrates Lennie's immense size. This sentence about his hands is an example of foreshadowing and is important because he crushes animals, and ultimately a human, with his paw-like hands.

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I think that there are specific contexts in which Steinbeck uses the imagery of animals to illuminate Lennie's traits.  These images are employed to give a visual reference point to how Lennie should appear in the reader's mind.  

Some of the first animal imagery that Steinbeck uses to describe Lennie would be in the exposition of the narrative.  Consider the opening description of Lennie as a bear when he first enters:

Behind him walked his opposite, a huge man, shapeless of face, with large, pale eyes, and wide, sloping shoulders; and he walked heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws. His arms did not swing at his sides, but hung loosely.

In employing the imagery of the bear, Steinbeck helps to illuminate Lennie's size.  In specific comparison to George when they both enter the brush, using the "paws" helps to accentuate the size of Lennie and the size of Lennie's hands.  As Lennie "dabbled his big paw" in the small pond, one is able to visualize Lennie's size and how everything in front of him seems tiny and vulnerable in comparison.  

Another example of animal imagery that Steinbeck uses is found later on in the first chapter.  After George discards the dead mouse that Lennie found, Lennie retrieves it.  In confronting Lennie about surrendering the mouse, Steinbeck employs the image of a dog to describe Lennie at this moment:

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.

The use of "terrier" is significant.  It shows that Lennie, despite his overwhelming "bear" size, is actually extremely loyal to George.  Akin to the dog, Lennie obeys George as a dog does a master.  The detail of "who doesn't want to bring a ball to its master" is another example of animal imagery that evokes how much Lennie is dependent on George.  The idea of how a dog obeys its master no matter what is something that will be seen again in chapter 3 with Candy and in the final chapter in the brush with George and Lennie.

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What are some examples of animal imagery in connection with Lennie in Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck?

Lennie's affiliation with animals goes far beyond his fascination with the rabbits he imagines he will raise when he and George eventually buy their farm. At the start of the novella, Lennie is described at several points at having characteristics of a bear, even volunteering himself to go live in a cave in order to get out of George's way. The imagery of these descriptions is powerful; Lennie is large and strong, but completely incapable of taking care of himself, unlike an animal in the wild that might actually live in a cave. As well, Lennie carries in his pocket a dead mouse so that he is something to stroke while he walks. His attachment to the soft decaying creature introduces the notion of death into the novella, and it foreshadows the death of the puppy, also at Lennie's hands, and eventually, the accidental strangling of Curley's wife. The mouse imagery is poignant because Lennie's need to pet something soft is innocent, but the dead mouse in his pocket is toxic.

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What are some examples of animal imagery in connection with Lennie in Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck?

Right from the start of the novella, Steinbeck likens Lennie to a large animal.

He walked heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws. His arms did not swing at his sides, but hung loosely.

The comparison is not meant to be derogatory, but actually descriptive of Lennie's primitive and unpolished nature, which exists within all of us as humans. Lennie, however, lives with the mismatched combination of a large body, disproportionate strength, and very low intellect. Hence, he lacks the typical behaviors and defense mechanisms that are used by other people to control themselves in certain situations.

Consequences are also foreign to Lennie. Like an animal, he just reacts on the spot without thinking much. For example, when he felt thirsty on his way to the ranch, rather than looking for a safe source of water, he went to the first puddle he found.

He flung himself down and drank from the surface of the green pool; drank with long gulps, snorting into the water like a horse.

In all, Lennie is no different than a wild creature that can only manage to survive by learning the basics of life. He is still a potential victim of his own instincts which, like those of a animal, command his actions more than common sense.

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