Of mice and men notes

A guide on Of mice and men and the characters

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Chapter 1
Setting the scene
It describes the idyllic scene at the end of a hot day, the Gabilan Mountains and all the wildlife around
the Salinas River (water snake, coyote, carp, dog, water snake, dove and heron). This is the same
scene described at the end of the novel which could show that despite any drama in the lives of men
nature continues.
Quotes: "deep and green", "golden foothill slopes", "rabbits sat as quietly as little grey stones
(unafraid), "for a moment the place was lifeless", "path beaten hard by boys coming down from the
Introducing the characters
Both George and Lennie are introduced walking in `single file' and `one stayed behind the other'.
They both wear the same thing and had the same possessions. However, they are described to be
opposite in looks. "Both were dressed in denim trousers and denim coats...Both wore black hats
and carried tight blanket rolls." "The first man was small and quick, dark, with restless eyes and
sharp strong features... He was defined... small slender arms, thin bony nose." "Behind him walked
his opposite, a huge man, shapeless of face with large pale eyes, wide sloping shoulders, walked
They have a parent child relationship. He tells Lennie to stop drinking bad water. "Lennie don't drink
so much, you gonna be sick like you was last night." George has to repeat things to Lennie like he is a
child. "So you forgot that awready? Ok I'll tell you again." "I tried not to forget." He doesn't trust
Lennie to keep things "Think I'd let you carry your own work card?" He has to take a mouse away
from Lennie who resists like a child "Give it here!" "Aw, leave me have it!"
It shows that Lennie copies George a lot but also admires him and tries to please him. "Lennie
imitated George exactly."
The Dream
Lennie makes George tell him the dream "like he done before." Lennie "gets a kick out of it" and it is
clear that it is said a lot as George "repeated his words rhythmically" and because even Lennie who
doesn't remember things knows it by heart. While telling the story he `laughs delightedly' and
shouts, showing he gets happiness out of it and it gives the both of them hope.

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Chapter 2
In this chapter George and Lennie arrive at the ranch and all the other characters are introduced
including Candy ­ "Tall stoop-shouldered man", the boss, Curley, Curley's wife, Slim and Carlson.
The Bunkhouse
In the bunkhouse everyone has their own bed and small cupboard with a few possessions, they do
not have luxuries in the bunkhouse. "The walls were whitewashed and the floor unpainted.…read more

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George tries to ignore and avoid her. George is worries she might get Lennie into trouble, and
tells him to stay away from her. Lennie thinks she's `purty'.
Slim is introduced however Steinbeck does not focus on his physical features, but instead his
character suggesting that his character is worthy of a closer inspection. He is shown as being really
special as it says "He moved with a majesty only achieved by royalty and master craftsmen.…read more

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Chapter 3
Set in the early evening and opens with a discussion between Slim and George. George reveals more
to Slim about him and Lennie. There are clues which foretell the outcome of the book.
George and Slim's conversation
George speaks `proudly' about Lennie when talking about how good at work he is, showing that he is
protective of peoples insults and enjoys it when people compliment Lennie, like a parent.…read more

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She got the eye going all the time on everybody...Seems she can't keep away from
guys." However some sympathy can be felt for Curley's wife as "It ain't no place for a girl" shows she
is not welcome in the ranch, where she has to stay. Whit is also the expert about the ranch men's
Saturday night out and tells George that Susy's brothel is the best. This shows what is important to
ranchmen.…read more

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When describing Crooks' harness room it describes his books and large spectacles, showing that he
reads and is smart unlike most ranchmen. It says his eyes "glitter with intensity" giving the impression
there is a depth to him, but he can't show it as he keeps his distance. This scene takes place on
Saturday night when all the men are out.…read more

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Curley's wife enters...
Lennie first refuses to talk to her as George told him to, and she flirts slightly with him as she says
that he could break Curley's other hand if he gets tough. However you then sympathise with Curley's
wife as she says "I get awful lonely" and that she doesn't get to talk to anyone. This explains why she
is always at the bunkhouse with the men, perhaps not because she is flirty, but she is lonely.…read more

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Lennie's death and shows that death is a part of nature. Lennie drinks from the river,
like at the start of the novel. He is proud he remembered to come to the brush, but scared George
will be mad at him.
Lennie's hallucinations
When Lennie imagines his Aunt Clara it shows that he feels guilty for letting down George.…read more


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