There are many examples of foreshadowing in literature. Writers use this to make the reader more interested in the story by making them predict what will happen towards the end. Many examples of foreshadowing can be found in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. There are three major examples that stand out the most in his story. The examples
of foreshadowing in Of Mice and Men help tie the events in this story to the ending.
The ending to most books come as a shock to many people. At first they are extremely surprised by the ending, but then they go back and find examples of foreshadowing throughout the book. After they find these, the ending is not a surprise to them anymore, it makes sense. One example of foreshadowing in Of Mice and Men is when George told Lennie where to meet him. George said, “Lennie- if you jus’ happen to get in trouble lie you always done before, I want you to come right here an’ hide in the brush.” George was trying to make sure that Lennie knew where to go if he got in trouble like he had in Weed. Steinbeck is telling us that Lennie is going to get in trouble again at some point. When Lennie does get himself into trouble he goes to the brush to hide, and George meets him there. This would not have made sense to the reader if Steinbeck had not included foreshadowing. Even though this event of foreshadowing was important, there are more that are just as, if not more important to understanding the ending of this book.
Examples of foreshadowing happen all throughout this book. Towards the middle of the book Candy tells George something that is extremely important to understanding the ending. Candy said, “I ought to of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn’t ought to of let no stranger shoot my dog.” He was trying to tell George that it was wrong of him to let a complete stranger shoot his dog when he had owned him since he was a puppy. Candy knew that he shouldn’t have done that, and he didn’t want George to make the same mistake. At the end of the book George shot Lennie himself. He knew that it was the right thing to do because he could comfort Lennie in the process. He could also make it a quick and painless death for him. George realized that if he didn’t shoot Lennie himself he would regret it, just like Candy did. This ending would have made the reader mad, but by Steinbeck’s use of foreshadowing it makes them realize why the book ended this way. They understand that it was essential for George to kill Lennie himself. The foreshadowing in Of Mice and Men was a crucial part of understanding the whole book.
Sometimes books have reoccurring events within the story that all represent one example of foreshadowing. They do this because it is the most important example in the book. In Of Mice and Men there are several events that show how much Lennie enjoys touching soft things. These events also show that he usually ends up hurting everything he pets unconsciously. At the beginning of the book George says, “That mouse aint fresh Lennie; and besides you’ve broke it pettin’ it.” Lennie didn’t even realize that he had hurt the mouse. Another example of Lennie hurting things that he pets is the puppy he had. Lennie made the comment, “You wasn’t big enough. They tol’ me and tol’ me you wasn’t, I di’n’t know you’d get killed so easy.” This time Lennie had realized what he did, but it was too late. All of these examples lead up to one of the most important events. Curley’s wife came into the barn to talk to Lennie. When she asked him to feel her hair it made everyone wonder if something traffic was going to happen. Lennie snaps her neck because she starts yelling at him to stop petting her hair. Steinbeck leaves the reader unsure at times, but usually resorts to connecting things with other events. Multiple events were used as foreshadowing to lead to Lennie killing Curley’s wife.
All of the examples of foreshadowing in Of Mice and Men allow the reader to understand the ending of this book. When George tells Lennie to meet him in the bushes if anything bad happens this is foreshadowing to the ending of the book when Lennie has to meet him there. Also, Candy telling George that he regretted not killing his dog himself leads to the end where George kills Lennie because he didn’t want to live with the same regret as Candy. Lastly, all of the times that Lennie kills animals by petting them foreshadows to when Lennie kills Curley’s wife. The ending of John Steinbeck’s book would not make sense without him putting examples of foreshadowing in the story.