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of mice and men

of mice and men

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JOHN STEINBECK WAS BORN IN 1902 in Salinas, California, a region that became the setting for much of his

fiction, including Of
Mice and Men. As a teenager, he spent his summers working as a hired hand on neighboring ranches, where his experiences of rural California and its people impressed him deeply. In 1919, he enrolled at Stanford University, where he studied intermittently for the next six years before finally leaving without having earned a degree. For the next five years, he worked as a reporter an d then as caretaker for a Lake Tahoe estate while he completed his first novel, an adventure story called Cup of Gold, which was published in 1929. Critical and commercial success did not come for another six years, when Tortilla Flat was published in 1935, at which point Steinbeck was finally able to support himself entirely with his writing. In his acceptance speech for the 1962 Nobel Prize in literature, Steinbeck said: . . . the writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man¶s proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit ²for gallantry in defeat, for courage, compassion and love. In the endless war against weakness and despair, these are the bright rally flags of hope and of emulation. I hold that a writer who does not passionately believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor a ny membership in literature. Steinbeck¶s best-known works deal intimately with the plight of desperately poor California wanderers, who, despite the cruelty of their circumstances, often triumph spiritually. Always politically involved, Steinbeck followed Tortilla Flat with three novels about the plight of the California laboring class, beginning with In Dubious Battle in 1936. Of Mice and Men followed in 1937, and The Grapes of Wrath won the 1940 Pulitzer Prize and became Steinbeck¶s most famous novel. Steinbeck sets Of Mice and Men against the backdrop of Depression-era America. The economic conditions of the time victimized workers like George and Lennie, whose quest for land was thwarted by cruel and powerful forces beyond their control, but whose tragedy was marked, ultimately, by steadfast compassion and love. Critical opinions of Steinbeck¶s work have always been mixed. Both stylistically and in his emphasis on manhood and male relationships, which figure heavily in Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck was strongly influenced by his contemporary, Ernest Hemingway. Even though Steinbeck was hailed as a great author in the 1930s and 1940s, and won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1962, many critics have faulted his works for being superficial, sentimental, and overly moralistic. Though Of Mice and Men is regarded by some as his greatest achievement, many critics argue that it suffers from one -dimensional characters and an excessively deterministic plot, which renders the lesson of the novel more important than the people in it. Steinbeck continued writing throughout the 1940s and 1950s. He went to Europe during World War II, then worked in Hollywood both as a filmmaker and a scriptwriter for such movies as Viva Zapata! (1950). His important later works include East of Eden (1952), a sprawling family saga set in California, and Travels with Charley (1962), a journalistic account of his tour of America. He died in New York City in 1968.

The History of Migrant Farmers in California
After World War I, economic and ecological forces brought many rural poor and migrant agricultural workers from the Great Pla ins states, such as Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas, to California. Following World War I, a recession led to a drop in the market price of farm crops, which meant that farmers were forced to produce more goods in order to earn the same amount of money. To meet thi s demand for increased productivity, many farmers bought more land and invested in expensive agricultur al equipment, which plunged them into debt. The stock market crash of 1929 only made matters worse. Banks were forced to foreclose on mortgages and collect debts. Unable to pay their creditors, many farmers lost their property and were forced to find other work. But doing so proved very difficult, since the nation¶s unemployment rate had skyrocketed, peaking at nearly twenty-five percent in 1933. The increase in farming activity across the Great Plains states caused the precious soil to erode. This erosion, coupled with a seven-year drought that began in 1931, turned once fertile grasslands into a desertlike region known as the Dust Bowl. Hundreds of

Slim returns to the bunkhouse. . George finds that Lennie. In several of his fiction works. who is maniacally searching for his wife. has been carrying and stroking a dead mouse. The next day. When Slim agrees with Carlson. The Grapes of Wrath. The next day. the ranch-hands return from the fields for lunch. Candy overhears George and Lennie discussing their plans to buy land. strong features. promises to do the job painlessly. twenty percent of the farmers were originally from Oklahoma. He lies. the Joads. and George and Lennie meet Slim. George complains loudly that his life would be easier without having to care for Lennie. The state¶s mild climate promised a longer growing season and.´ or handyman. Migrant workers came to be known as Okies. Slim goes to the barn to do some work. and is deeply devoted to George and dependent upon him for protection and guidance. it offered more opportunities to harvest. He tells how Lennie has often gotten them into trouble. another ranch -hand. Overcome with thirst. Lennie thinks she is ³purty. have been let off a bus miles away from the California farm where they are due to start work. and headed for California. Curley¶s wife appears and flirts with them. The three make a pact to let no one else know of their plan. fearing that Lennie might catch a disease from the dead animal. berating Curley for his suspicion s. in his most famous novel. including Of Mice and Men. they were forced to flee their last job because Lennie tried to touc h a woman¶s dress and was accused of rape. keeping rabbits. George is a small. seemed like a promised land. farming it. insists that he¶ll do al l the talking.´ Lennie. challenging. and. though. fearing how the boss will react to Lennie. They meet Candy. Candy gives in. George confides in Slim that he and Lennie are not cousins. but have been friends since childhood. with a missing hand and an ancient dog. the two stop in a clearing by a pool and decide to camp for the night. They are hired. and full of jealous suspicion. and often unrewarding the life of migrant farmers could be. Plot Overview T WO MIGRANT WORKERS.thousands of farmers packed up their families and few belongings. heads to the barn to accost Slim . George and Lennie. which. the Great Plains farmers dreamed of finding a better life in California. As the two converse. and Curley. Curley is newly married. is his opposite. Soon. Just as George and Lenni e dream of a better life on their own farm. George angrily throws it away. a giant of a m an with a ³shapeless´ face. for although they came from many states across the Great Plains. suggests that since Slim¶s dog has just given birth. saying that death would be a welcome relief to the suffering animal. Carlson. good -for-nothing dog. his companion. Slim agrees to give Lennie one of his puppies. warns Lennie to stay away from her. Okies were often met with scorn by California farmers and natives. Once George and Lennie are alone in the bunkhouse. dark man with ³sharp. and Curley. sensing the trouble that could come from tangling with this woman and her husband. Slim comments on the rarity of friendship like that between George and Lennie. who loves petting soft things but often accidentally kills them. the boss¶s mean-spirited son. much to Lennie¶s delight. He and Lennie share a dream of buying their own piece of land. George ends the night by treating Lennie to the story he often tells him about what life will be like in such an idyllic place. John Steinbeck immortalized the plight of one such family. possessive of his flirtatious wife. with soil favorable to a wider range of crops. for numerous reasons. and offers his life¶s savings if they will let him live there too.´ but G eorge. an old ³swamper. the skilled mule driver who wields great authority on the ranch. they should offer a puppy to Candy and shoot Candy¶s old. and Carlson continues to badger Candy to kill his old dog. Carlson. Despite these promises. George. the men report to the nearby ranch. very few found it to be the land of opportunity and plenty of which they dreamed. For instance. it becomes clear that Lennie has a mild mental disability. explaining that they travel together because they are cousins and that a horse kicked Lennie in the head when he was a child. but the reader senses that their friendship and devotion is mutual. before leading the dog outside. which only made their dislocation and poverty even more unpleasant. Steinbeck illustrates how grueling.

George¶s behavior is motivated by the desire to protect Lennie and. George . a vision that Lennie believes in wholeheartedly. George lets them believe that Lennie had the gun. Due to his mild mental disability. Candy lost his hand in an accident and worries about his future on the ranch. Only Slim understands what has really happened. Lennie. it is Lennie¶s childlike faith that enables George to actually believe his account of their future. most of the men go to the local brothel. Curley¶s wife flirts with them. the lonely. offering his life¶s savings if he can join George and Lennie in owning the land. George shoots his friend in the back of the head. wiry. Steinbeck depicts Curley¶s wife not as a villain. George joins Lennie. Read an in-depth analysis of George. finds Lennie and picks a fight with him. she is desperately lonely and has broken dreams of a better life. black stable -hand. Slim consolingly leads him away. The fate of Candy¶s ancient dog. Lennie crushes Curley¶s hand in the altercation. but rather as a victim. and she offers to let him feel her hair. Curley¶s wife is never given a name and is only mentioned in reference to her husband. George is not mad at him for doing ³a bad thing. eventually. such as small animals. Read an in-depth analysis of Curley¶s wife. The next night.A large. that George has killed his friend out of mercy. Candy . foreshadows the manner of Lennie¶s death. In his attempt to silence h er. This thought amuses her. Though George is the source of the often-told story of life on their future farm. searching for an easy target for his anger. . Slim warns Curley that if he tries to get George and Lennie fired. is responsible for hurting her husband. and Candy. Curley¶s wife . she cries out.A small. Much to Lennie¶s surprise. Character List Lennie . Curley¶s wife enters and consoles him. Read an in-depth analysis of Candy. his friend and traveling companion. s he represents the temptation of female sexuality in a male -dominated world.´ Dressed in fancy. As he describes the rabbits that Lennie will tend. Although he frequently speaks of how much better his life would be without his caretaking responsibilities. deliver them both to the fa rm of their dreams. he will be the laughingstock of the farm. the sound of the approac hing lynch party grows louder. Lennie flees back to a pool of the Salinas River that George had designated as a meeting place should either of them get into trouble. Lennie nevertheless does not understand his own strength. lumbering. which Carlson shoots in the back of the head in an alleged act of mercy. he seizes on George¶s description of the farm he and Lennie will have. As the men back at the ranch discover what has happened and gather together a lynch party. Like the ranch-hands. and people¶s hair.Curley. and the other men. When he grabs too tightly. She notices the cuts on Lennie¶s face and su spects that he. and George wrestled it away from him and shot hi m. Lennie tells her that he loves petting s oft things.´ a ³tart.The only female character in the novel. quick-witted man who travels with. Lennie is left with Crooks. leads to disaster.´ and a ³looloo. feathered red shoes. and not a piece of machinery as Curley claimed. She admits that life with Curley is a disappointment. When the other men arrive. and cares for.´ George begins to tell Lennie the story of the farm they will have together. The men on the farm refer to her as a ³tramp. The two men share a vision of a farm that they will own toge ther. and wishes that she had followed her dream of becoming a movie star.An aging ranch handyman. Fearing that his age is making him useless. Gentle and kind. childlike migrant worker. he accidentally breaks her neck. George is obviously devoted to Lennie. refusing to leave until the other men come home. for guidance and protection. Lennie accidentally kills his puppy in the barn. completely puzzled. watch them leave. The next day. Lennie completely depends upon George. His love of petting soft things. dresses.

Themes. Read an in-depth analysis of Crooks. Perhaps the most powerful example of this cruel tendency is when Crooks criticizes Lenni e¶s dream of the farm and his dependence on George. smelly dog. and yet. even at their weakest. Nearly all of the characters. and Curley¶s father. patient woman who took good care of Lennie and gave him plenty of mice to pet. admit. The other characters often look to Slim for advice. Curley .Crooks .A highly skilled mule driver and the acknowledged ³prince´ of the ranch. gets his name from his crooked back. Recently married. Carlson complains bitterly about Candy¶s old.Crooks. Read an in-depth analysis of Curley. The Predatory Nature of Human Existence Of Mice and Men teaches a grim lesson about the nature of human existence. the black stable-hand. and though he derisively claims to have seen countless men following empty dreams of buying their own land. Curley¶s wife admits to Candy. Steinbeck records a profound human truth: oppression does not come only from the hands of the str ong or the powerful. well-dressed man in charge of the ranch. Later. The Boss . He convinces Candy to put the dog out of its misery. mean-spirited. he is a confrontational. By all accounts. including George. When Candy finally agrees. Proud. Geor ge uses Carlson¶s gun to shoot Lennie. Crooks. does not actually appear in the novel except at the end. and Curley¶s wife. they seek to des troy those who are even weaker than they. A quiet. he asks Lennie if he can go with them and hoe in the garden. to having a profound sense of loneliness and isolation.Lennie¶s aunt. bitter. Carlson . Slim alone understand s the nature of the bond between George and Lennie. Curley wears high-heeled boots to distinguish himself from the field hands. The characters are rendered helpless by their isolation. Aunt Clara .A ranch-hand.The boss¶s son. who cared for him until her death. Lennie. Motifs & Symbols Themes Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. Crooks seems at his strongest wh en he has nearly reduced Lennie to tears for fear that something bad has . In scenes such as this one. Having just admitted his own vulnerabilities²he is a black man with a crooked back who longs for companionship²Crooks zeroes in on Lennie¶s own weaknesses.A ranch-hand. Crooks.The stocky. as a vision chastising Lennie for causing trouble for George. Slim is the only character who seems to be at peace with himself. Whit . she was a kind. Curley is plagued with jealous suspicions and is extremely possessive of his flirtatious young wife. he is isolated from the other men because of the color of his skin. Candy. and caustically funny. and Lennie that she is unhappily married. Slim . Despite himself. at one time or another. insightful man. and Crooks tells Lennie that life is no good without a companion to turn to in times of confusion and need. For instance. He is never named and appears only once. only after Slim agrees that Can dy should put his decrepit dog out of its misery does the old man agree to let Carlson shoot it. Carlson promises to execute the task without causing the animal any suffering. Each desires the comfort of a friend. but will settle for the attentive ear of a stranger. but seems to be a fair-minded man. Crooks becomes fond of Lennie. Candy happily reports that the boss once delivered a gallon of whiskey to the ranch-hands on Christmas Day. and comforts George at the novel¶s tragic ending. and aggressive young man who seeks to compensate for his small stature by picking fights with larger men. Rumored to be a champion prizefighter.

and he has no desire for a female compa nion or wife. she is constantly looking for excitement or trouble. . The men in Of Mice and Men desire to come together in a way that would allow them to be like brothers to one another. Their enticing sexuality. represents a prototypically American ideal. and to know that there is someone in the world dedicated to protecting them. they want to live with one another¶s best interests in mind. but the rest of the world²represented by Curley and Carlson. or brothel) is enough of women for George. The Impossibility of the American Dream Most of the characters in Of Mice and Men admit. offer them protection from an inhospitable world. seems initially to support George¶s view of marriage.happened to George. which awakens George to the impossibility of this dream. What makes all of these dreams typically American is that the dreamers wish for untarnished happiness. at one point or another. With this. contrasts. for the freedom to follow their own desires. Curley¶s wife. bitter as he is. allows himself the pleasant fantasy of hoeing a patch of garden on Lennie¶s farm one day. Dissatisfied with her marriage to a brutish man and bored with life on the ranch. and still he cannot help but ask Lennie if he can have a patch of garden to hoe there. Crooks. After hearing a description of only a few sentences. and safety are not to be found in this world. The novel suggests that the most visible kind of strength²that used to oppress others²is itself born of weakness. it should come as no surprise that they idealize friendships between men in such a way. Curley¶s wife. by the end of the novel. the world is too harsh and predatory a place to sustain such relationships. he believes. however. just as Curley¶s wife feels most powerful when she threatens to have Crooks lynched. Misunderstanding Lennie¶s love of soft things. as Crooks points out. Candy is completely drawn in by its magic. which would enable them to sustain themselves. Given the harsh. a rare friendship vanishes. George and Lennie¶s dream of owning a farm. circumstances have robbed most of the characters of these wishes. lonely conditions under which these men live. Before the action of the novel begins. Crooks has witnessed countless men fall under the same silly spell. That is. due to encountering trouble there with a woman. has resigned herself to an unfulfilling marriage. Curley¶s wife confesses her desire to be a movie star. Their journey. Ultimately. the only woman to appear in Of Mice and Men. The Corrupting Power of Women The portrayal of women in Of Mice and Men is limited and unflattering. to dreaming of a different life. and literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text¶s major themes. lost a d ream larger than themselves. Fraternity and the Idealized Male Friendship One of the reasons that the tragic end of George and Lennie¶s friendship has such a profound impact is that one senses that t he friends have. tempts men to behave in ways they would otherwise not. The farm on which George and Lennie plan to live ²a place that no one ever reaches²has a magnetic quality. but is convinced that women are always the cause of such trouble. to protect each other. who watch George stumble away with grief from his friend¶s dead body²fails to acknowledge or appreciate it. sadly proves that the bitter Crooks is right: such paradises of freedom. Lennie and George. for instance. who come closest to achieving this ideal of brotherhood. are forced to separate tragically. and. a woman accused him of rape f or touching her dress. George berates Lennie for his behavior. Before her death. and Candy latches on desperately to George¶s vision of owning a couple of acres. A visit to the ³flophouse´ (a cheap hotel. contentment. most important. Motifs Motifs are recurring structures. We learn early on that Lennie and George are on the run from the previous ranch where they worked.

A paradise for men who want to be masters of their own lives. Steinbeck shows how Lennie possesses physical strength beyond his control. quite valuable to men in George and Lennie¶s circumstances. It seduces not only the other characters but also the reader. Men like George who migrate from farm to farm rarely have anyone to look to for companionship and protection. women have no place in the aut hor¶s idealized vision of a world structured around the brotherly bonds of men. as Crooks says.In one of her more revealing moments. Candy¶s Dog In the world Of Mice and Men describes. and true to his original estimation. and Curley¶s wife all confess their deep loneliness. As the novel opens. like money. as a sy mbol of authority on the ranch and a champion boxer. however. self -reliance. predatory human tendencies. she threatens to have the black stable -hand lynched if he complains about her to the boss. It is the rigid. not Curley. by virtue of his failure to recognize his own strength. Although no other character can ma tch Lennie¶s physical strength. Symbols Symbols are objects. Candy. someone to help them measure the world. that defeat Lennie and George in the end. Candy is immediately drawn in by the dream. finally. Curley. Great physical strength is. companionship of his kind seems unattainable. Candy¶s dog represents the fate awaiting anyone who has outlived his or her purpose. the huge Lennie will soon meet a fate similar to that of his small puppy. The fact that they admit to complete strangers their fear of being cast off shows their desperation. and even the cynical Crooks hopes that Lennie and George will let him live there too. Lennie¶s physical size and strength prove powerless. The first. Each of these characters searches for a friend. and most obvious. In a world without friends to confide in. Loneliness and Companionship Many of the characters admit to suffering from profound loneliness. Although Steinbeck does. strangers will have to do. wants to believe in the possibility of the free. Crooks. w ho. Lenn ie kills the puppy accidentally. George and Lennie¶s Farm The farm that George constantly describes to Lennie²those few acres of land on which they will grow their own food and tend their own livestock²is one of the most powerful symbols in the book. as when he cannot help killing the mice. as he has killed many mice before. Lennie¶s Puppy Lennie¶s puppy is one of several symbols that represent the victory of the strong over the weak. idyllic life it promises. like the men. Like an innocent animal. Candy¶s sentimental attachment to the animal²his plea that Carlson let the dog live for no other reason than that Candy raised it from a puppy²means nothing at all on . As the story develops. is physical st rength. Her insistence on flirting with Lennie seals her unfortunate fate. In the end. For George. George sets the tone for these confessions early in the n ovel when he reminds Lennie that the life of a ranch-hand is among the loneliest of lives. Candy¶s mutt is now debilitated by age. the hope of such companionship dies with Lennie. the farm represents the possibility of freedom. Once a fine sheepdog. Physical strength is not the only force that oppresses the men in the novel. Strength and Weakness Steinbeck explores different types of strength and weakness throughout the novel. figures. and colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts. offer a sympathetic view of Curley¶s wife by allowing her to voice her unhappiness and her own dream for a better life. characters. useful on the ranch. he is utterly defenseless and therefore disposable. Lennie is unaware of the vicious. he will go through life alone. makes this clear immediately by using his brutish strength and violent temp er to intimidate the men and his wife. in the face of these universal laws. predatory powers that surround him . and protection from the cruelties of the world.

Chapter One Summary The novel opens with the description of a riverbed in rural California. Lennie asks for ketchup. but George loses his temper and throws it across the stream. killing them because he doesn¶t know his own strength. a beautiful. for he fears that he himself is nearing an age when he will no longer be useful at the ranch. and would not let go. He uses the incident that got them chased out of Weed as a case in point. only to have George find him out immediately and take the mouse away again. that he just wanted to pet it. The first. a lover of soft things. Candy internalizes this lesson. As the two men sit down to eat.ri// wa r. and then notices that Lennie is holding a dead mouse. wooded area at the base of ³golden foothill slopes. it becomes clear that the larger man has a mild mental disability. After this tirade. Lennie insists that he is not responsible for killing the mouse. his insistence that the old animal must die supports a cruel natural law that the strong will dispose of the weak. and that he must behave himself when they meet the boss. is small. is large and awkward. and George warns him not to drink too much or he will get sick. They are both dressed in denim.i/ (of people and animals) thin but strong. and most men working on ranches have no one to . the last place they worked. and sharp-featured. and ran them out of town. wiry / wa . George does not want any trouble of the kind they encountered in Weed. Lennie¶s Aunt Clara used to give him mice to pet. The locals assumed he assaulted her. Lennie. Lennie stops to drink from the river. used by boys going swimming and riffraff coming down from the highway. while his companion. Clearing: an area in a wood or forest from which trees and bushes have been removed George decides that they will stay in the clearing for the night. Although Carlson promises to kill the dog painlessly. Apparently. and that his companion looks out for his safety.the ranch. is one of the loneliest in the world. George. stroked the fabric of a girl¶s dress. Lennie. The life of a ranch-hand. according to George. the plan for their future happiness. farmhand attire. and therefore no longer welcome. as he did the night before.´ A path runs to the river. George complains that he could get along much better if he didn¶t have to care for Lennie. Lennie interrupts him to ask where they are going. His companion impatiently reminds him of their movements over the past few days. Lennie crosses the stream and recovers the mouse. George feels sorry for losing his temper and apologizes by telling Lennie¶s favorite story. George begins to complain about the bus driver that dropped them off a long way from their intended destination²a ranch on which they are due to begin work. but he tends to ³break´ small creatures unintentionally when he shows his affection for them. and often able to bend easi ly As they reach a clearing. George takes it away from him. Two men walk along the path. and as they prepare their bean supper. As their conversation continues. wiry. George warns Lennie that they are going to work on a ranch. This request launches George into a long speech about Lennie¶s ungratefulness.

George tells Lennie that if Curley hits Lennie first.´ They will grow their own food. ³live off the fatta the lan¶. nastolatka (kto ) . blind. the eye. and can barely walk. Curley¶s wife enters the bunk house. Lennie tells George that Curley¶s wife is pretty. enters the bunk house. This familiar story cheers both of them up. but hurries away when Slim tells her Curley was heading toward their house. The boss arrives to register the men. and his temper is worse lately. The boss¶s son was so angry he took it out on the black stable buck. but she has a wandering eye. He takes an instant disliking to Lennie because of his size. Curley. George tells Lennie that if he encounters any trouble while working at the ranch. he is to return to this clearing. He notices that an old man with a mangy old dog eavesdropping. George calls her jail bait. as soon as they manage to save enough money. and someday.look out for them. the opposition spokesperson demanded the minister's resignation. But he and Lennie have each other. As night falls. The man tells George that Curley always wears a glove on his left hand filled with Vaseline so that he can keep that hand soft for his wife. He is newly married and very cocky about his marriage. The boss says he will keep his eye on the two men. Chapter Two Summary Lennie and George arrive on the ranch. as Lennie puts it. and keep rabbits. George warns Lennie to stay away from Curley¶s wife because she is poison. Candy. George does all the talking. Carlson. George tells Lennie to steer clear of Curley because Curley is looking for trouble. Curley is a small guy. George notices the dog is old. She says she is looking for Curley. The man who shows them around the ranch. ma olata. smelly. the boss¶s son. they will buy a farm together and. until the boss notices and directly addresses Lennie. George thinks Curley is showing off for his new wife. The man says he wasn¶t listening. hide in the Tirade /ta re d/. The boss thinks George is taking money from Lennie¶s pay because Lennie is simple. She has also given another man. George still does the talking. is missing his right hand. nieletnia. The boss asks George what his interest is in Lennie. the eye. which Lennie will tend. raise livestock. The boss is angry because the two men did not arrive in the morning as scheduled. The swamper thinks Curley married a tart. George says he is Lennie¶s cousin. Curley has a long history of picking fights with big men. The swamper tells George Curley¶s wife is pretty. a long angry speech expressing strong disapproval She launched into an angry/furious tirade about how she had been unfairly treated. She flirts a little with Slim when he arrives in the bunk house. He then reminds Lennie to hide in the brush by the river bank if there is any trouble. She is wearing quite a bit of make up and a fancy dress. the jerk-line skinner. She¶s been seen giving Slim. Lennie promises to stay away from him. Lennie can fight back with all he has. In a furious tirade of abuse. George yells at Lennie for talking when he was not supposed to talk.

He does not want to be like them. and Lennie thanked him for saving him instead of being angry. Carlson says Slim should give Candy. He tells Slim about what happened in Weed. he freezes. George asks what he means and gets defensive. Chapter Three Summary While the other men are outside playing horseshoes. He says Lennie gets in trouble all the time because he is so dumb. George told Lennie to jump into the Sacramento River. but despite Lennie¶s physical advantage. Lennie was not aware George was playing jokes on him because Lennie is not smart. Slim comments that it is strange that George and Lennie travel together. George saved him. but George makes him take the puppy back to his mother. George started looking after Lennie after his Aunt Clara died because Lennie was all alone. George confesses that he used to be cruel to Lennie by playing jokes on him. Carlson suggests Slim get Candy to shoot his old dog. One day. z któr uprawianie seksu grozi wi zieniem z Slim is the most respected man on the ranch. George had to hit him in the head with a picket fence in order to get him to let go. Lennie asks George if he can have one of the puppies. George says Lennie cannot think for himself. He leaves angry. He talks about other guys he has seen on ranches that do not have anyone. He is soft-spoken. Lennie¶s Aunt Clara took Lennie in when he was a baby and raised him. They get mean.na kilometr pachn cy prokuratorem (najcz powodu jej zbyt m odego wieku) ciej chodzi o dziewczyn . He just wanted to touch her red dress. The ol d dog has no teeth. but he likes having him around. Lennie tries to sneak the pup into the bunk house. George thanks Slim profusely. A lynch mob was sent out for Lennie. George insists that it meant a great deal to both him and Lennie. George also used to beat Lennie up. he would never raise a hand to George. George promises to ask Slim about the puppies later. George says Lennie is a nuisance. When Lennie gets scared. George reassures Slim that Lennie never hurt the girl. George says Lennie is so excited he may try to sleep out with the puppies. George warns Lennie it could kill the pup. but his word is taken as authority. Slim talks about how happy he is with Lennie¶s ability to do physical labor. Slim and George are inside the bunkhouse talking about Lennie¶s puppy. George talks about how he is alone with out Lennie while playing solitaire. and cannot chew. one of the new puppies. the swamper. Slim¶s dog had puppies last night. is nearly blind. Curley enters the bunk house again looking for his wife. but Slim says it really is not a big deal. Lennie was so afraid when the girl started screaming that he held on tighter. but does an excellent job when he is told what to do. Lennie jumped in and nearly drowned because he cannot swim. The girl told the police she was raped. George tells Slim he and Lennie grew up together in Auburn. . He is a hard worker and a leader among the men on the ranch.

Slim is sick of Curley¶s accusations. Crooks. Slim agrees with Carlson.Slim remarks Lennie is just like a kid. Lennie does not fight back until George tells him to get Curley. Slim and Curley enter the bunk house. He has three hundred and fifty dollars and offers to go in with them. The boat was swamped by an enormous wave. He asks if they have whiskey because he is in pain. enters the bunk house. Curley¶s hand is broken. otherwise everyone will mock him. Candy says he should have shot his dog himself. Candy says he can¶t do it. the black stable buck. George predicts Lennie will sleep in the barn with the puppies. He talks about the house. and the animals they can raise. Lennie grabs Curley¶s hand and squeezes hard. enters the bunk house. the swamper. Curley promises not to tell. Curley notices Slim is gone and asks where he is. This makes Curley angry and looking for a fight. even the black stable buck. He says they will do to him what they did to his dog. The other men tell Curley to take care of his own wife. Carlson tells Candy the dog is suffering and suggests Candy shoot the dog out of mercy. and Candy in the bunk house. Swamp : to cover a place or thing with a large amount of water High tides have swamped the coast. He tells Slim Lennie is out in the barn with the puppies. Slim tells Curley to say he got his hand caught in a machine. the orchard. Curley storms off for the barn. She turns up every time the ranch hands are around because she can¶t stay away from the guys. The only difference between Lennie and a kid is physical strength. not a stranger. They promise to keep the secret to themselves. Lennie. This leaves George. The men talk about Curley¶s wife again. George says Slim is in the barn fixing a split hoof. Curley picks a fight with Lennie. George and Lennie talk about their dream again. Curley is looking for his wife again. but they have to save their money. Lennie freezes again and George starts slapping Lennie until he lets go. He knows he will be fired when he can longer swamp out the bunk house. The rest of the men go out to see if Curley and Slim fight. Carlson reminds Candy that he can have one of Slim¶s puppies so he won¶t be lonely. Carlson comes in and starts complaining about how badly Candy¶s dog smells. Chapter Four Summary . George eventually agrees to let Candy come in with them. Candy. Candy says that he isn¶t much good around the ranch with only one hand. They say she gives everyone the eye. and Carlson offers to do it himself. Candy finally agrees to let Carlson shoot the dog. They plan to leave in one month. George replies six hundred dollars and ask why Candy wants to know. Candy describes how he lost his hand. Candy speaks up and asks how much a place like that costs. George says he knows of a piece of land.

He tells Lennie if it weren¶t for George. Lennie enters Crooks' room and is told to get out. His father would not let him play with the nearby white children. She says the men will talk to her one on one. Curley¶s wife enters the barn. and she talks about being stuck in the house with no one to talk to. but get angry with her if other men are around. She tells Lennie she¶s glad he hit Curley. he was the only black child for miles. The other men went into town. he would be in the loony bin. Candy tells them they are kidding themselves. Lennie buries the puppy under a mound of hay. He killed the puppy earlier by handling it roughly. He offers to come with them Curley¶s wife enters the stable. looking for Curley. Chapter Five Summary Lennie is in the barn by himself. Candy tells her he¶s had enough and she¶s not wanted there. She doesn¶t understand why the men treat her this way. Crooks talks about his loneliness. He is the only ranch hand who does not live in the bunk house. Lennie forgets his promise and starts to tell Crooks about the rabbits. She still dreams of being in Hollywood. Crooks tells Lennie that when he was a child. Lennie becomes upset. She was supposed to receive a letter from a man in Hollywood. Nobody on the ranch visits Crooks. He is afraid George will not let him tend the rabbits if he finds out about the puppy. She observes that all the weak ones were left behind. She says this is why she married Curley. so he got used to being alone. She says the men are scared. but she never got the letter. who she claims she doesn¶t like. She tells Lennie she could have been in the pictures. she asks Lennie how he got the bruises on his face. Crooks tells the men he does not want to leave with them. Curley¶s wife gets angry when Lennie tells her George told him not to talk to her. Crooks becomes interested when he realizes the men have money in the bank. petting his puppy. She asks what happened to Curley¶s hand. Crooks tells her to leave. Candy comes in the stable to talk to Lennie about the rabbits. The other men in the bunk house won¶t let Crooks in to play cards because they say he stinks. Crooks tells her she has no right to be in his room. . She asks Lennie what is under the hay. She thinks her mother stole her letter and kept it from her.Crooks is the only black man on the ranch. His body is bent over to the left because he has a crooked spine. Crooks asks Lennie what would happen to him if George disappeared. He tells her the dog looked like it was going to bite him and he smacked it too hard. Before she leaves. She leaves. She threatens to get him lynched if he ever talks to her like that again. and he lives in the harness room attached to the stable. She knows someone hurt him.

George. A heron stands in a shaded green pool. She lets Lennie pet her hair until he starts to pet her too hard. Everyone thinks Lennie stole the gun. Then a gigantic rabbit appears to him. away from the scene. Carlson questions George. and tells him that George will probably beat him and abandon him. They fear Curley will kill Lennie brutally if he finds Lennie first. Lennie comes stealing through the undergrowth and kneels by the water to drink. and shoots Lennie in the back of the head. eating water snakes that glide between its legs. and Lennie panics. He holds one hand over her mouth and the other hand in her hair and shakes her until he breaks her neck. The sound of the shot brings the lynch party running to the clearing. Lennie remembers George telling him to hide in the brush by the river bank if something bad happened. making Lennie feel comforted and hopeful. Carlson¶s Luger is missing. The noises of men in the woods come closer. He is proud of himself for remembering to come here to wait for George. ³Le¶s get that place now. Lennie makes his usual offer to go away and live in a cave. also speaking in Lennie¶s own voice. it is a beautiful. She yells at him to let go. ³Le¶s do it now. and George tells Lennie to take off his hat and look across the river while he describes their farm. talking about how most men drift along. who lets them believe that he wrestled the gun from Lennie and shot him with it. Chapter Six Summary In the same riverbed where the novel began. I swear you hadda. Just then. He is uncommonly quiet and listless. George appears. while Carlson and Curley watch incredulously. for not listening to George.´ George agrees. The men set off after Lennie. Even when Lennie himself insists on it. Lennie asks him to tell the story of their farm. and George begins. Curley vows to kill Lennie. George tosses the gun away and sits down on the riverbank. He repeats his usual words of reproach without emotion. Candy finds the body. He covers her with hay just like the puppy. He tells Lennie about the rabbits. His Aunt Clara appears ³from out of Lennie¶s head´ and berates him. Slim leads George. speaking in Lennie¶s own voice. He tells George. and promises that nobody will ever be mean to him again. Only Slim understands what really happened: ³You hadda. As Lennie falls to the ground and becomes still.´ . which he has removed from his jacket. who is numb with grief.Lennie tells Curley¶s wife he likes to pet soft things. George tells the men Lennie went south because they came from the north. for getting himself into trouble. and for causing so many problems for his only friend. without any companions.´ Lennie says. wondering what is ³eatin¶ them two guys. serene late afternoon. but he and Lennie have one another. He does not berate Lennie.´ he tells him. The other men are alerted of the murder. He raises Carlson¶s gun. but soon has two unpleasant visions. and George tells him to stay. George¶s tirade is unconvincing and scripted.

reserved and cool. interest. preoccupied. long legs. "he's eatin' raw eggs" refers to the notion that eating raw eggs increases sexual performance. heron any of various wading birds with a long neck. hoosegow [Slang] jail. four-taloned Jackson fork a hay fork with four prongs. and a long. carried by a hobo. California civil code a book of civil law for the state of California. etc. bucking grain bags throwing heavy burlap bags of grain into a truck or wagon. booby hatch [Slang] an institution for the mentally ill. Auburn a city about 35 miles northeast of Sacramento. belittling. bemused plunged in thought. California. bindle [Slang] a bundle. cat house [Slang] a house of prostitution. for lifting large amounts of hay. living along marshes and river banks.. tapered bill. euchre a card game. graybacks [Slang] lice. . 'coons short for "raccoons." derision contempt or ridicule. as of bedding.Full Glossary for Of Mice and Men aloof distant in sympathy. derogatory disparaging.

nail keg a barrel for holding nails. gloomily. crime. jerk-line skinner the main driver of a mule team. jailbait [Slang] a young woman. the horse harnessed nearest the front wheels of a vehicle. and spots of different colors or shades. jack-pin a metal or wooden pin used to fasten ropes to a ship. kick off die. Salinas city in west central California. meaning in the movies. mule a lounging slipper that does not cover the heel." here. pugnacious eager and ready to fight. inferior paper stock made from wood pulp. Candy is saying Curley's wife is just a child. coarse cloth woven of flax. recumbent biologically designating a part that leans or lies upon some other part or surface. . "on the wheeler's butt" on the rump of the wheel horse. ringer a horseshoe thrown so that it encircles the peg. who handles the reins (jerk-line). "rabbits in" [Slang] jumps in. usually containing sensational stories of love."in the pitcher" "in the picture. not full or rich. or jute. in the ring in the sport or profession of boxing. Salinas River a river that flows through Soledad and into Monterey Bay. considered a potential sexual partner. "roll your hoop" a reference to a child's game. juncture a point or line of joining or connection. morosely sullenly. in the harbor of San Francisco. streaks. mottled marked with blotches. who has not reached the age of consent. Sacramento capital of California. sacking a cheap. near Monterey. combative. reprehensible deserving to be rebuked or scolded. now closed. jack [Old Slang] money. quarrelsome. San Quentin a state prison. hemp. meager of poor quality or small amount. raptly with a completely absorbed or engrossed look. pulp magazine a magazine printed on rough.

size." a boxer between a junior welterweight and a junior middleweight. sweat-band a band. a person. Weed a northern California mining town. slang past tense of "sling. left. to fire. feathers. "writin' to the patent medicine houses" here. etc. skinner [Informal] a (mule) driver. tart a promiscuous woman. temple dancer a dancer known for delicate hand movements. whitewashed painted with a mixture of lime. who is responsible for taking care of the horses. stake a share or interest. water. or a business venture. swamper here. as of leather. give birth to. whiting."she got the eye" said of Curley's wife. welter short for "welterweight. took a powder [Slang] ran away. a general handyman and person responsible for cleaning out the barn. to form a mattress or pillow. slough get rid of. tick the cloth case or covering that is filled with cotton. "to bind her" to make a down payment. as in property." meaning to cast out. stable buck reference to Crooks. Soledad a coastal California city about 130 miles south of San Francisco. meaning that Curley is writing to mail-order businesses for medicines that increase sexual performance. work card a card with a job assignment usually given to workers by an employment agency. . in this case. hair. inside a hat to protect the hat against damage from sweat. It is then presented to the employer by the worker. meaning that she flirts and is interested in men other than her husband. etc. in this case.

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