Chapter 1 Summary

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  • Created on: 05-12-12 20:32
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The book starts off with a description of the countryside scenery. Steinbeck uses his
language to create vivid scenery by pointing out all the different animals and colours that
give off that idea of a peaceful scenery with extreme detail. For example he describes
"sycamores with mottled, white, recumbent limbs."
After the short detailed introduction, two characters come in, Lennie and George. Lennie
being a very big, strong man his walk is described as in a "way a bear drags his paws",
because of his huge size and slow walking pace meaning that the two have been probably
walking for a long time. His companion, George is described as "small" and has "sharp,
defined features". This gives off the idea that he is a very serious man, and his "restless
eyes" also suggests that he has been walking for a long time.
However before this Steinbeck mentions that both men have the same denim clothes, the
same shapeless hats and that both carry a blanket rolls. This shows that both characters
have a close relationship with one another even though later on we will see that they both
have very different personalities. On the next page you can see that both travellers use a
Southern U.S.A dialect which varies from one character to another during the whole book
dignifying who these people are and what sort of personalities they share.
Later on Lennie runs to a green pool of water and takes a drink from it, he then gets told off
by Georg. George advises Lennie that he shouldn't drink from still bodies of water. This
gives the idea that George has authority over Lennie. This is the reason why Lennie is
compared to a "terrier", even though unlike a terrier Lennie is very large he does have that
master servant relationship with George. This also demonstrates George is a strict man and
cares for his companion's health, an example of this: "Lennie you gunna be sick like you was
last night". Lennie looks up to George and respects him and his request. In a way George is
some sort of farther figure to Lennie, as like a child Lennie imitates George when washing
his face in the pool, this displays that Lennie is dependent on his friend and requires his
assistance. Another example of this is when George lights a fire and opens up a can of
beans, Lennie complains that there isn't any ketchup to eat with his dinner. Then throughout
the rest of the chapter he continues to talk about it, demonstrating his childish personality.
It also introduces some humour into the book to make it more interesting for the reader.
Afterwards Lennie pulls out a dead mouse from his pocket and starts stroking it. George
tells off Lennie for doing so and picks up the mouse and throws it as far away as possible as
it is no longer "fresh". George also always complains about how Lennie has a tendency of
killing mice. Proving that despite his child like behaviour Lennie has more strength than the
average man and doesn't have much control over it.

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George unwillingly tells a story that they have been through many times, so much that
Lennie knows part of it by heart. It is about their dream and how they will own some acres
along with some rabbits for Lennie to care for, so that they can become self-sufficient
without the need of having someone in charge.…read more


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