Of Mice and Men

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Rabbits Symbol Icon
Lennie's dream is to tend the rabbits on the farm that he and George hope to one day own. This dream establishes Lennie's complete innocence. But Lennie loves the rabbits because of their soft fur, and his love of touching soft things leads to his doom. The rabbits, then, symbolize not only innocence, but also the downfall of innocence in a harsh world.

Rabbits Quotes in Of Mice and Men

The Of Mice and Men quotes below all refer to the symbol of Rabbits. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Broken Plans Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Books edition of Of Mice and Men published in 1993.
Part 1 Quotes
"Well," said George, "we'll have a big vegetable patch and a rabbit hutch and chickens. And when it rains in the winter, we'll just say the hell with goin' to work, and we'll build up a fire in the stove and set around it an' listen to the rain comin' down on the roof."
Related Characters: George Milton (speaker)
Related Symbols: George and Lennie's Farm, Rabbits
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:

When George repeats his refrain about why they, as two traveling friends, are different than other ranchers, Lennie asks George to tell him about the farm that they are going to have together. Lennie often asks George to repeat this story, as a sort of verbal security blanket that calms him when he is upset.

In this quote, George repeats yet another refrain about a piece of land that he and Lennie will own, with their own livestock and crops. As ranchers, they are constantly doing backbreaking labor to harvest the crops that someone else owns, for meager pay. If they were to own their own land, they could "live off tha fatta the lan'," as Lennie is fond of saying--they can be sustained entirely by the food they grow. They would effectively be their own bosses, and therefore "say the hell with goin' to work" whenever they please, rather than risk being fired by an employer. The repetition of this dream keeps both men going even when times are hard. The belief that their future will be better than their current situation is one that they must furtively believe if they are to continue to endure the repercussions of Lennie's antics on various ranches across California. 

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Rabbits Symbol Timeline in Of Mice and Men

The timeline below shows where the symbol Rabbits appears in Of Mice and Men. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
...until they can buy their own farm. George describes the farm right down to its rabbit hutches. Lennie can't contain his excitement about tending rabbits and living off the "fatta the... (full context)
Part 3
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
...Lennie is also laughing at him, though Lennie was just smiling while thinking of tending rabbits on the farm. Curley starts punching Lennie, bloodying his face. Lennie only fights back when... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...will respect him. Curley gives in. Lennie asks George if he can still tend the rabbits on their farm. George says yes. (full context)
Part 5
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Lennie starts talking about the farm and rabbits, and explains that he likes to pet soft things. She says her hair is soft.... (full context)
Part 6
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
...had a much easier life without him. Lennie then has a hallucination of a giant rabbit, which tells him George will abandon him. (full context)