What are three similes in 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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What are some similes in Of Mice and Men?

A simile is a comparison that uses the words "like" or "as." Similes are commonly used by writers to create vivid pictures in readers' minds.

For example, the rabbits sitting on the sand banks in chapter one, just prior to George and Lennie's arrival, are described as sitting "as quietly as little gray, sculptured stones." The image of stones, which do not move, creates a clear picture of just how unmoving the rabbits are.

Afterwards, when Lennie is drinking from the green pool that he and George come across, he is described to be "snorting into the water like a horse." This simile uses the word "like" to create a clear picture of how messily and eagerly Lennie is drinking.

Another simile using "like" is used later in the first chapter to describe a water snake moving on the pool. The snake's head is compared to "a little periscope," which creates a clear image of the snake's head protruding out of the water.

Later, Lennie begins to cry after George throws away the dead mouse that he has been carrying around in his pocket. His crying, or "blubberin'," is described by George as being "like a baby." This commonly-used simile gives the reader an indication of how distraught Lennie is.

When George and Lennie are at the ranch and see Curley's wife for the first time, another simile is used to add to the picture of what she looks like. The "rolled clusters" that her hair is hung in are compared to sausages using the word "like".

The last simile that I'll mention is found in the first paragraph of chapter five. The hay in the great barn is described as being "like a mountain slope." This image creates a clear mental picture of the volume of hay and the shape of the pile of hay.

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What are some similes in Of Mice and Men?

There's a particularly wonderful simile in the opening pages when Steinbeck is describing the flat, featureless landscape against which the subsequent action will take place:

On the sand banks, the rabbits sat as quiet as little gray, sculptured stones.

This is a particularly effective simile as it conveys the sense of quiet and stillness of this part of the world. Straight away, we're given the impression that this is a place where not much happens. The stage is being set for George and Lennie's sudden arrival in this oasis of calm, which thanks to them won't be calm for much longer.

Talking of Lennie, here's another animal simile which perfectly encapsulates his character:

[B]ut he's sure a hell of a good worker. Strong as a bull.

The first part of this statement is indeed true. But it's the bit about his being strong as a bull that really captures the imagination. For Lennie is indeed strong; it's one of his main characteristics. In fact, he doesn't know his own strength, which gets him into a lot of trouble.

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What are some similes in Of Mice and Men?

A simile is a type of figurative language which makes a comparison between two things using the words like or as. Like a metaphor, a simile seeks to show the qualities of one thing by comparing it to something quite different. Steinbeck often uses figurative language in his novella Of Mice and Men and similes are spread throughout the text in the third person narration (much of the novel is told through dialogue).

In chapter one, Lennie is described as being like a horse. In fact, Steinbeck frequently uses animal imagery to portray the big man:

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.

Also in chapter one, a simile is used to describe a snake which is part of the setting in the area between the Gabilan Mountains and Salinas River where George and Lennie camp:

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

A little later in chapter one, Steinbeck uses a simile to reinforce the animal imagery in his description of Lennie:

Slowly, like a terrier who doesn’t want to bring a ball to its master, Lennie approached, drew back, approached again. 

At the beginning of chapter two, Steinbeck uses a simile when he describes the setting of the bunkhouse where George and Lennie come to live while they work on the ranch:

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.

Also in chapter two he uses a simile to characterize Curley's wife:

Her hair hung in little rolled clusters, like sausages. 

In chapter three, just before the fight between Lennie and Curley, Carlson makes a derogatory comment about Curley, suggesting he's a coward:

You’re yella as a frog belly. 

Later in that chapter, Lennie, under George's direction, goes after Curley, who has been mercilessly punching the big man. Lennie grabs Curley's hand and Steinbeck uses a simile to show the action:

The next minute Curley was flopping like a fish on a line, and his closed fist was lost in Lennie’s big hand. 

In chapter five, Steinbeck again uses the fish comparison when Lennie is accidentally killing Curley's wife:

“Don’t you go yellin’,” he said, and he shook her; and her body flopped like a fish.

In chapter six, Steinbeck uses a simile in his description of the setting. The chapter takes the reader back to the area near the Salinas River which was also the setting of the first chapter. Steinbeck writes:

A far rush of wind sounded and a gust drove through the tops of the trees like a wave. 

Finally, Steinbeck once more emphasizes the animal imagery when depicting Lennie:

Suddenly Lennie appeared out of the brush, and he came as silently as a creeping bear moves. 

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