Of Mice and Men Chapters


Chapter 1

  • Meet George and Lennie
  • George coaches Lennie on how to behave in their new job
  • Lennie keeps asking George questions- he's like a demanding child
  • George is irritated by the questions- he's like a harassed and impatient parent
  • George and Lennie's dream to "live off the fatta the lan'"George says he would be happy without Lennie- he'd have lots of food, drink and girls- using these dreams to make Lennie feel guilty- the way parents do. Not clear whether or not he actually believes he would be happy without him
  • Lennie offers to leave- trying to make George guilty too
  • Beans and no ketchup-  metaphor for their lives- all work and function, no luxury or fun- nothing good
  • Pool- contrasts- the wild rocky hillside and the more homely and overgrown riverside- something not quite right- George tells Lennie to let the fire die out- not everything is as good as it seems, troubles hiding in the background.
  • Lennie killing the mouse- he did without meaning too- "you always killed 'em"- could happen again
  • George makes Lennie memorise the place they are in case there's is toruble- aware something is likely to happen again
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Chapter 2

  • Meet Candy, the swamper- he's helpful, though George is wary of him. He's seen it all and wants a quiet life. He's old, but he doesn't seem bitter
  • The Boss is aggressive, doesn't like George speaking for Lennie. He "gives the stable buck hell"- just because he's black. He wears heeled cowboy boots- power and status. He likes to show he's the boss- interrogating George and Lennie. 
  • Curley takes a dislike to Lennie- quizzes them again. He's aggressive for no reason. George warns that Curley shouldn't mess with Lennie- Steinbeck warning us again about the danger of Lennie- like with the mouse in Chapter 1. 
  • Meet Curley's wife: she makes George and Candy jumpy, Lennie thinks she's "purty", Slim flirts midly
  • George is anxious: suspicious of Candy's warm welcome, defensive with the boss's questioning, doesn't like Curley's aggression (or his hand) and doesn't like Curley's wife.
  • He's restless Lennie will muck it up again: shouts at him for talking to the boss, shakes his ear whn he says Curley's wife is "purty", scared he wil have to fight Curley on Lennie's behalf
  • Both of them are aware the ranch is dangerous- don't like it- sense of fear, something bad will happen.
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Chapter 3

  • George opens up to Slim and tells him that he's looked after Lennie since his Aunt Clara died. In the past George took advantage of Lennie's stupidity. Tells the story of what happened in Weed. 
  • Whit likes to bond with others- he plays cards so he can talk to George. He's the typical ranch hand, he talks a lot about why Susy's is the best brothel
  • Carlson is a complainer- he complains about Candy's dog, the light in the bunk house and Crooks always winning the horseshoe game
  • Carlson kills Candy's dog- selfishly, thoughtlessly, leather strap like a noose. Slim has the authority to save the dog but doesn't. Candy is useless, old, weak and disabled like his dog. No mercy on the ranch for animals or humans. When they no longer serve a purpose they are got rid of. Slim drowns most of his pups, no one helps Candy's dog. Candy might think he could be next- they could all be next. Like animals labouring on the farm. Foreshadows Lennie's death- killed in the same way. 
  • Candy overhears George and Lennie's dream and asks to join- the dream becomes possible. George believes it and enjoys it- not just saying it for Lennie. Sees a way out. Most optimistic part of the book, contrasts to:
  • Curley and Lennie fight- lots of tension and conflict on the ranch. Lennie's strength- done something unintentional- could easily happen again. 
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Chapter 4

  • Lennie and Candy go to Crooks' room. Crooks- wary at first, but he slowly gets friendlier Crooks tells Lennie- George isn't coming back. Have dreams in common: Lennie and Candy start talking about the dream, Crooks wants to join, offers to work for nothing
  • Optimistic- these characters are at the bottom of the heap, but they're  full of hope and can see a way out.  They are all companions and dreamers: Lennie- living off the "fatta the lan'" and looking after the rabbits, Candy- idea for making money out of the rabbits, Crooks promises to work for nothing. 
  • The optimism and hope shared briefly- shattered by Curley's wife- contrast between her coarseness and the ideal, childlike image of the dream
  • Curley's wife comes out of nowhere- not introduced, just starts talking. She thinks these men- 'weak' ones: She is defensive at first- says she hates men, knows all about their weakness for drink. Likes putting men down- makes her feel better. She's happy that Lennie "bust up Curley". She threatens Crooks "I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain't even funny"-  claim he ***** her, he'd be guilty because he's black
  • Power- she gets comfort from feeling superior to men. Breaks bonds between the men- pessimistic view of women. 
  • Men get back- blacks and whites separated, dreams impossible again. Crooks "I didn't mea' it"... "Just foolin'". All doomed to work for someone else, so someone else can get rich. Crooks puts liminent on again- back to pain and work. 
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Chapter 5

  • Lennie killed his pup while in the barn- becomes angry- scared George won't let him tend the rabbits
  • Curley's wife comes- flirting- she doesn't know how else to communicate with men. Steinbeck- society has forced people into stereotyped roles. She comforts him, expresses bitterness about life in general and men, continues to dream "Maybe I will yet" - still hopes to make something of herself. Confides in Lennie: she only married Curley on the rebound- her dream didn't happen, she hates being lonely. She and Lennie are obsessed with themselves and their hopes. Each feel under threat. Not having a real conversation- talking about their problems. Lennie strokes her hair- switched from gentle to violent- because he's afraid, like an animal- animals won't harm you if you leave them alone. 
  • Everyone's dreans are over: George- spend his wages on women and whisky, "I think I knowed we'd never do her", he wears a black hat- like an executioner. Lennie- remembers the plan to go by the river. Curley's wife- still beautiful even though she's dead, dreams are also dead. Candy- One last time he imagines the farm. 
  • Curley wants revenge- he wants Lennie dead. 
  • Slim goes over to Curley's wife- tender- shows Slim's authority, humane spiritual leader, reminds us a real person is dead- Lennnie, personal response- did feel affection for her
  • George covers his tracks: Gets Candy to pretend to discover the body, rejects the idea of letting Lennie run free, decides to save Lennie by killing him himself
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Chapter 6

  • Lennie- dream of going to live in a cave- like an animal, he returns to the pool, nature is where he belongs, not in human world. 
  • Place of Death: Heron eats watersnake, Lennie previously killed mice here, Lennie is about to be killed
  • Place of Destiny: Always arranged to meet there- George sensed it would be needed, Lennie saves life of watersnake by disturbing heron.
  • Lennie knows he's done a bad thing- Has vision of Aunt Clara- authority, maternal, says how George was always there for Lennie, says he has let him down- guilt coming out
  • Vision of Rabbit- threatens that Lennie will never change- Lennie's deepest fears, dream was to look after rabbits- rabbit mocking him- he knows his dream can't come true
  • George deliberately deceives Lennie- reciting the dream, Lennie is excited, keeps prompting George, his happiness and childlike hope make the execution much worse. Lennie has run out of patience- "Let's get that place now"- for Lennie that is the farm, in reality it is death. 
  • He is shot like an animal- people in bunkhouse no longer want Lennie alive- just like with Candy's dog, He's is shot like him. 
  • The characters react differently to the death: George- tells everyone he took the gun off Lennie, they all think he stole it from Carlson. Curley- kids himself it was his bullet that killed Lennie. Slim- knows what happened, 'Godlike', knows and sees everything. Carlson: insenstive, doesn't understand, fits in with the ranch and accepts its cruelty
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