The puppy Lennie adopts on the ranch in Soledad represents the futility of the strong trying to care for the weak, and the inevitability of fate. The days-old puppy symbolizes the inescapability of doom and suffering—after narrowly surviving being drowned by Slim, it dies at Lennie’s hands after he accidentally smacks it too hard when it tries to playfully bite him, perhaps as it was even suckling Lennie’s fingers in search of milk. Lennie, a physically strong character, inadvertently kills the tiny, weak puppy while trying to care for it, leading it to the same fate it initially escaped. Similarly, the cunning George looks out for the Lennie, who is mentally disabled, yet must ultimately kill Lennie to protect him from a worse death at the hands of the vengeful ranch laborers. The puppy and its death represent the brutal fate that ultimately bely the weakest creatures, and the inescapability of this fate despite stronger people’s attempts to protect the weak. It is yet another one of the ways in which “the best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men” are shown to go hopelessly awry over the course of the novella.
Lennie’s Puppy Quotes in Of Mice and Men
“Why can't I talk to you? I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely.”