There is plenty of symbolism in Of Mice and Men, and I don’t want to get into all of it, but I do want to give a little attention to the rabbits—because it’s something that differs greatly from Little Chenier. George has a dream of owning his own farm with Lennie and living off the “fatta the lan.” On this farm, Lennie is going to tend to the rabbits.
George and Lennie’s Dream
The rabbits represent the dream that George and Lennie share. In a scene early in the book, as George and Lennie trudge through the forest on the lamb after Lennie got into trouble again, a passage describes rabbits as they disappear noiselessly into the forest. It’s interesting that the thing that represents the dream these two men have scamper away from them, and neither man even noticed they were ever there, as they approach—showing just how out of reach the men’s dream really is.
In Little Chenier, Pemon and Beaux already are living off the fat of the land. They run a small bait shop that sells shrimp and crab that they collect themselves. The men have precious little in way of possessions—they don’t even have a door on the small shack they live in. While Beaux seems content with his meager lifestyle, it is clear that he feels stuck. Even if he wasn’t content what could he do? Who would take care of Pemon if Beaux left? Add in the fact that the love of his life is married to Carl. Beaux’s feelings are represented through the cash register at his small bait shop that is stuck shut.
Change and how it’s Symbolized in the Film
One interesting aspect of the film has to do with change. Several times throughout the film a reference to change from a sales transaction is made, but it is how the characters react to change that are truly curious. Beaux, desperate for a change, refuses his change toward the end of the film after getting the cash register fixed. T-Boy, who is trying to change throughout the film so he can keep the affection of his on-again-off-again girlfriend Nadean tells Beaux not to worry about the change when the register first becomes stuck.
One element that the film is missing that works so well in the novel is the foreshadowing. Candy has an old sheepdog that is described as unable to take care of itself, much like Lennie, and the shop is euthanized by ranch-hand Carlson. After the dog is put down, Candy comments to George about how he should have done it himself. The scene is important for two reasons. One, it establishes the location of the gun that George later uses. Two, well…you know.
Little Chenier and Of Mice and Men explore similar themes. They look at relationships and bonds. How family affects relationships? How does friendship? Of Mice and Men deals with the fleeting nature of the American Dream. Little Chenier with challenges of instituting change in your life. While it’s still an enjoyable film, Little Chenier doesn’t match the emotional wallop Of Mice and Men has, but it has an emotional background that explains the change in the ending.
The film was originally supposed to have a darker ending that mirrored the ending in Of Mice and Men, but after Hurricane Katrina devastated the bayou where filming took place, the writer and director decided to rework the ending of the film into a more positive one.
Next week I am going to take a look at Silver Lining Playbook, which can be found on Netflix. I picked up the book version, well it was actually an audiobook, from my library’s digital collection.
Like always, if there is an adaptation you would like me to take a look at, let me know either on the contact page or email me at email@example.com. Like, share, and subscribe.