Of Mice and Men- Plot

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Section one- Moving On

Summary

  • Setting of Salinas River is introduced
  • Lennie & George arrive by a pool- Lennie drinks 'like a horse'
  • Lennie- carrying dead mouse to 'pet'- George throws it away
  • Find out background- come from weed & are looking for work
  • George tells Lennie not to speak- Boss will know how 'crazy' Lennie is
  • Lennie collects wood & retrieves dead mouse- George takes it again
  • Find out more about George & how he looks after Lennie
  • Find out why they had to leave weed
  • Lennie asks George to say the dream
  • George makes Lennie promise- if trouble, return to pool
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Section one- Moving On

Why is this section important?

  • Setting is established
  • Introduced to the two main characters
  • Their relationship is made clear
  • We find out background info & where they're going next
  • Provides initial clues about key ideas, themes & events
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Section one- Moving On

The setting- Still life, hot night.

  • Opens- varied & colourful description of rural Californian setting- south of soledad by Salinas river- 'narrow pool'
  • Like a stage- set- almost waiting for arrival
  • S uses vivd images to creat a warm & dry evening

'On the sand- banks the rabbits sat as quietly as little gray sculptured stones'

  • Rabbits- greater significance as novel progresses
  • Similie- 'sculptured stones'- add to mythic & timeless feel
  • Later uses present tense- contributes to timelessness & suggests this place still survives
  • Detailed snapshot of nature- many other men have stopped there- implies G &L are small, unimportant figures in the world
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Section one- Moving On

Lennie & George: Friend or Foes?

  • Introduction- emphasises their similarity at first- 'both' wear same denim clothing & black hats- but G- small & has 'defined' features & L- huge, rather 'shapeless' & bearlike
  • 'Lennie dabbled his big paw in the water and wiggled his fingers so the water arose in little splashes (pg. 3)
  • Metahor- L- like a bear & enjoyment of ripples- child like & simple minded
  • G- presented- irritated & angered by L's simplicity but feels responsible for him
  • 'Bad things' & 'hot water' L gets G into is revealed- weed & L's fixation to 'pet' foreshadows events later in novel
  • Closeness is revealed by shared enjoyment of dream- makes us sympathetic to ambition
  • L's response- like small child being told favourite bedtime story
  • Dream- seems fantasy atm- but later seems reality- key theme of hopes and dreams is placed at start of novel
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Section one- moving on

CLIFF NOTES

  • Sets tone & atmostphere of location, 2 main characters, begins thematic considerations, imagery & foreshadowing
  • Careful word choice- e.g soledad (place) spanish word for loneliness or solitude- reference to one of novels key themes
  • Written- like a play- six scenes- begins with setting described- all action in scene occurs in one spot
  • After main action- focus pulls away from action- preparing reader for next scene eg. characters settle down to sleep for the night, the focus pulls away from the men to the dimming coal of their campfire, to the hills, and finally to the sycamore leaves that "whispered in the little night breeze."
  • Description "golden foothill slopes", "strong and rocky Gabilan Mountains."- quiet & natural- only sign of man is foot path
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Section One- Moving on

CLIFF NOTES CONTINUED...

  • Main characters- introduced by description then names- physical portrayal empahasises similatiries & diferences- more dissimilar then alike
  • Both react differently to pond- L immerses self & drinks. G- more cautious about quality
  • In description & interations- relationship is made clear- G takes care of L
  • But- G doesn't realise how dangerous L is- mistakenly believes he can protect L from himself- L strength, size, mental handicap & fondness for soft things conspire against him
  • G- 2 minds when it comes to L- complains- he could do what he wants without L- despite this, he genuinly cares for L- almost parent- scolds, gives advice & protects
  • Reccuring motif- dream, George repetition & echoing- like a prayer- empahsises dreams makes them special
  • S begins animal imagery- L compared to a bear & associated with rabbits & mice- animal images lead reader to question L's future- doesn't fit in human society
  • Title- foreshadows ultimate tragedy of characters
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Section two- Rising tensions

Summary

  • G & L arrive at ranch- shown bunk house by 'old swamper'  Candy
  • G worries previous occupant of bunk had lice
  • Boss talked about- 'a pretty nice fella' & crooks
  • Boss meets L & G- suspicion of pair
  • Curley comes in bunk house & picks on L.- seems to want to fight
  • Curleys wife vists bunk house- flirts with men
  • G becomes more worried- Curley frightens G
  • G remind L to go to pool if theres trouble
  • Slim- unofficial leader- meets G & - wins G's confidence
  • Slim offers to give L one of the pups recently been born to his dog
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Section two- Rising tensions

Why is this section important?

  • Introduces bunk house- setting for most of novel
  • Introduces some of the main characters
  • Curley & his wife are identified as a threat to L & G
  • Given clear hints that trouble is ahead
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Section two- Rising tensions

The characters: Heroes & Villians

  • Steinbeck shows us real people- mix of good & bad- helps to presuade us that world in Of Mice & Men is real
  • Doesn't fall in trap of describing all those in power as evil eg Boss & Slim
  • Uses dialogue to create characterisation- each has their own way of speaking- sentence length, slang, repetition & accents- we see how different all characters are
  •  S can show us characters with weakness (Curley & Curleys wife) & those with great strength (George & Slim)- real interest is in people who are the oppressed & weak, yearning & failing to take control of their lives (George, Lennie, Crooks, Candy & Curleys Wife)
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Section two- Rising tensions

Loneliness

  • G & L interest Slim because- 'you guys travel around together'- unusual
  • As novel progresses- we seen how lonely ranch hands lives are
  • Curley & wife are lonely- no friendship in marriage- sense of loneliness summed up by Slim- 'Maybe ever'body in the whole damned world is scared of each other' - helps us realise how special L & G's relationship is- 'We kinda look after each other' (pg38)

Slim

  • S- makes clear Slim is a hero- 'the prince of the ranch'. - commands respect- only character S uses a whole paragraph to praise
  • Does Slim deserve all this praise?
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Section two- Rising tensions

CLIFF NOTES

  • Introduces ranch & bunk house (dark room & sparsly furnished) - once the story shifts from the natural setting of Chapter 1 to the bunkhouse in Chapter 2, things change considerably- Steinbeck contrasts the world of nature and the world of men
  • Pool- beautiful & calm, ranch- contains characters beaten down by life & danger (C& CW)
  • juxtaposing the natural scene- pond with scene in the bunkhouse, Steinbeck highlights contrast between the freedom of nature and the unpredictable pattern of humans- dangerous ways
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Section two- Rising tensions

CLIFF NOTES

  • Atmostphere of bunkhouse- determined by people G & L meet
  • Characters represent various parts of American society during depression & speak about sadness of time- Candy & Crooks seperated from others
  • Steinbeck describes the general situation of the migrant hands; they work somewhere for a short time and move on to some other equally lonely place.
  • Characters express suspicion of G & L travelling together- repetition of question serves two purposes- the fact that two men traveling together is unusual- reinforces that the life of a migrant hand- 1930s agricultural world is one of loneliness and rootlessness- Second, it provides insight into each of the characters asking the question.
  • The boss, by his presumption that George is taking Lennie's pay- man of business, interested solely in the bottom line.
  •  Curley, by his insinuation that the relationship is a sexual one, shows him to be base and cruel.
  • Slim's reaction shows him to be the only one with the compassion to understand how traveling together might help the loneliness.
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Section two- rising tensions

CLIFF NOTES CONTINUED...

  • S- pairs up various characters & situations eg scene 1 contracts with scene 2- air of menance- Curley & Curley's wife
  • Lennie sense menance- Curley picks on Lennie- can see C is a bully
  • Real problem- Curleys Wife- causes problems between ranch hands & facinated by L who only sees her pretiness & softness- G sees the danger- calls her names- anrgy- scares L
  • Characters- paired- similarities & differences- (Slim and Carlson). Slim- sensitive, compassionate man whose word is law. Everyone respects him, and he seems to be the only one who is capable of understanding why George and Lennie travel together. Carlson, however, lovingly cleans his gun and is animalistic and insensitive. He is the one who thinks Candy's dog should be shot.
  • Candy & Crooks- both alienated & lonely
  • Candy & George- both care for those who can't care for themselves
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Section two- Rising tensions

CLIFF NOTES CONTINUED...

  • S describes the lines of conflict- the menace coming from the evil and bullying of Curley and the seductive temptation of his wife- cataylsts for fear
  • Even Lennie, who feels things instinctively, as an animal does, says, "I don't like this place, George. This ain't no good place. I wanna get outa here." In the second scene, the reader has only to wait for their eventual tragedy.
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Section Three- The dawn of hope

Summary

  • Slim gives one of the pups to L
  • Slim & G talk about L- he explains he took over care when L's Aunt Clara died- "Got kinda used to each other after a while".
  • G explains why they left Weed- tells Slim L didn't **** the girl
  • Tell L to take pup back to mother
  • Carlson persuades Candy to shoot his dog- "The way I'd shoot him, he wouldn't feel nothing".
  • Whit shows Slim a letter written to magazine by someone who used to work on ranch
  • Whit asks G to join other ranch hands in a visit the next night to the town
  • Candy bursts in- looking for wife- aruges with Slim
  • G & L discuss dream- Candy asks to buy himself in with money he has saved
  • Candy picks a fight with L- doesn't fight back until G tells him to- crushed C's hand
  • Slim protects L from blame for injury- makes C pretend it was a machine
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Section Three- The dawn of hope

Why is this section important?

  • Makes us think the dream might actually happen- dream is shattered by Curley- shows us that in real life, dreams rarely come true
  • Explains in more detail- L & G's relationship- reinfoces important of loneliness in novel
  • Another dream is introduced- cowboy magazine- something unreal but makes life bearable
  • Lennies pathetic -plea to G after he's crushed C's hand- 'I din't mean no harm, George"- sums up L
  • Shoot of dog- shows us cruelty of world portrayed in novel- prepares us for shooting of L
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Section Three- The dawn of hope

The Wild West?

  • Ranch hands- outwardly scorn the Wild West magazine they buy- secretly enjoy the romantic & glamourous view the magazine gives cowboys & by association, the ranch hands- shows workers how they would like to be
  • Another dream- similar to L & G's
  • Never be real but necessary for surviving real world
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Section Three- The dawn of hope

Saturday night visits

  • G & Whit talk about Susy's- brothel men go to on Saturday nights
  • S delicately handles discussion- could easily become coarse & obscene- in S hands it becomes natural- normal part of a man's life
  • Doesn't justify the exploitation of prostitutes- shows how S refuses to impose a politically correct agenda into his writing
  • Concerned to reveal what men think & feel- not to prove a point about what they should think- tries to show life as it is & how it looks from inside the minds of his characters

Light

  • Light plays important part in description- section starts- "Although there was evening brightness showing through the window of the bunk house, inside it was dusk"
  • Atmostphere in discussion- Slim & G- created by pool of light the shaded lam-p throws in bunk house- S uses light as its used on stage- create mood & atmostphere
  • Effect in this case suggest intimacy & cosiness
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Section Three- The dawn of hope

CLIFF NOTES

  • Chapter 2- L sensed ranch is not safe, chapter 3- brings prophecy to light with a number of dark & violent occurances- death of dog & crushing of hand- later repercussions
  • Dark images balanced- happiness of securing a pup & promise of dream
  • Rather than alleviating sense of forboding- juxtaposition with scenes full of promise- increase reader apprehension
  • Chapter ends with hand crushed & L claiming he didn't mean to hurt anyone- foreshadows later events.
  • G & L relationship is further developed in discussion with Slim
  • George says, "… he'll do any damn thing I [tell him to do.]" Here the reader sees that George enjoys the opportunity to not only give Lennie advice, but also to be in charge. Lennie gives George stature.
  • George uses that power carefully; he respects the fact that Lennie is not mean and would never intentionally hurt anyone
  • Doesn't realise L's strength- a danger made clear in hand crushing
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Section Three- The dawn of hope

CLIFF NOTES

  • Whit- minor becomes important- shows life of ranch hands when not working-  lives for today with no thought for his future and no concern for saving money
  • Steinbeck's point that sometimes our best intentions- hurt by the human need for instant gratification or relief from the boredom.
  • Heavy foreshadowing- repetiton of attitudes towards CW eg. tart- these events are Steinbeck's way of saying that something terrible is going to happen, and that Curley's wife will be involved.
  • Gloom relieved- hopeful planning of G, L & Candy- might come true-readers are lifted
  • S- includes this story of hope, the preponderance of the chapter is dark- shooting of Candy's dog & smashing of Curley's hand foreshadow that the men will not be able to realize their dream.
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Section Three- The dawn of hope

CLIFF NOTES CONTINUED...

  • Shooting of dog- callousness of Carlson & reality of old age & infirmity
  • Candy's reaction can be seen in the adverbs S uses to describe how Candy looks: "uneasily," "hopefully," "hopelessly
  • Candy reaches out to Slim for help- but he says its best
  •  "I wisht somebody'd shoot me if I get old an' a cripple" are the words Slim uses that Candy later echoes when he considers his own future.
  • Carlson- sterotype of macho male- relentless persue of dogs death- shows little concern for Candy's feelings
  • The rough and brutal world of the ranch hand is revealed by Carlson's actions & then brought up once again with the brutality of Curley toward Lennie.
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Section Three- The dawn of hope

CLIFF NOTES CONTINUED...

  • Unfortunate timing- L's laughter- excuse for C to fight him
  • Curley is a coward who would rather fight a big guy because, if he wins, he can brag about it, and if he is beaten, he doesn't lose face because the big guy should have picked on someone his own size
  •  Lennie's fear is clearly on his face, and he says, "I didn't want to hurt him," when it is over. He does not really understand the repercussions of what has happened, and he is afraid that he has done "a bad thing."
  •  Worst part of this whole scene is the uneasy feeling that somehow, somewhere, Curley will not forget this permanent injury, not only to his hand but also to his pride.
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Section Four- Death on the farm

Summary

  • Lennie goes into Crook's room- other ranch workers are in town
  • Crooks talks to Lennie
  • Crook teases L that G might leave him- frightned by L's response
  • Candy joins them & Crooks buys into the dream
  • Curleys Wife comes in- Crooks shows his anger at her- she says she will accuse him of **** & have him lynched
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Section Four- Death on the farm

Why is this section important?

  • Rest period before the final climax - step down tension- give the reader a break before a very demanding section
  • Introduces issue of racial prejustice
  • L's anger at Crooks- warning L can be dangerous
  • Harsh injustice of the world- shown by ease at which CW can humiliate Crooks
  • Loneliness is emphasised
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Section Four- Death on the Farm

Crooks: Prejustice or loneliness?

  • Crooks- bitter & cynical- S draws attention to how few rights black people have- could be lynched without trial
  • Bitterness- also down to disability- continually rubbing back with ointment
  • Lonely man- isolated by other because of race & disability
  • S- shows effects of prejudice
  • Crook's room is important in novel- guards it fiercly - isolated & alone being a black man when everyone else is white
  • His room is both a symbol of Crooks as someone different & isolated from the others - and a private place where he can be himself
  • Also a working room- contents show some of the skills needed to work on a ranch at time
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Section Four- Death on the farm

Curley's wife: a complex character

  • Flirt who likes attracting male attention & enjoys the trouble she creates
  • Glories in her power over Crooks- power she has not earned
  • Also a victim- No love between her and Curley- hes gone to a brothel & left her alone
  • " Think I don't like to talk to somebody ever' once in a while? Think I like to stick in that house alla time?"
  • Loneliness- doesn't excuse her- help explain & understand her- suggest she is a victim of a cruel world
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Section Four- Death on the Farm

Pride & Prejudice

  • Section- important for the theme of shattered dreams
  • Crooks is described as 'proud and aloof'
  • Crooks initially tries to buy into dream- withdraws when humiliated by CW
  • Croosk pride comes from fact- he has no dreams & no illusions about life being fair- gives him strength to be proud
  • He has no hopes- no one can hurt him
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Section Four- Death on the Farm

CLIFF NOTES

  • Begins- description of place- Crook's room- Crooks room is source of his pride- neat
  • Its nature shows Crooks is different from other ranch hands- has personal possessions- he is more permanent
  • In his conversations are both the reality of accepting his solitary position and his anger at this condition
  • When Crooks has oppertunity to have power- he picks on L- sensing L's fear & power he backs down
  • Description of Crook's room- his past life & current existence on the ranch, Chapter 4 continues Steinbeck themes of loneliness, barriers between people, and the powerlessness of the little guy in a huge world
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Section Four- Death on the Farm

CLIFF NOTES CONTINUED...

  • Crooks describes his solitary life in terms of all the workers- CW- both have no one to talk to
  •  "I seen it over an' over — a guy talkin' to another guy and it don't make no difference if he don't hear or understand. The thing is, they're talkin', or they're settin' still not talkin' … It's just bein' with another guy. That's all."
  • Crooks- related to loneliness of the ranch hands
  • "Sure you could play horseshoes till it got dark, but then you got to read books. Books ain't no good. A guy needs somebody — to be near him … . A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody. Don't make no difference who the guy is, long's he's with you … . I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an' he gets sick."
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Section Four- Death on the farm

CLIFF NOTES CONTINUED...

  • Crooks' loneliness is part of Steinbeck's microcosm of the world- s- pointing out barriers & artifical barriers people & society build against each other
  • Crooks- sense of powerlessness- CW in his room
  • "Well, you keep your place then, Nigger. I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain't even funny."- Crooks knows she's right & dissolves into nothingness
  •  S- describes- growing smaller, pressing himself against the wall, and trying to avoid the hurt- "Crooks had retired into the terrible protective dignity of the Negro." 
  • S states,Candy with his old age, Lennie with his retardation, Crooks with his race, Curley's wife with her gender: all are victims of the attitudes and prejudices of society.
  • Realist about his status & prohetic about L & G's dream- won't happen
  • reason -stated clearly by Crooks & echoed by Curley's wife., "I seen guys nearly crazy with loneliness for land, but ever' time a whorehouse or a blackjack game took what it takes."-Played out- behaviour on saturday night- never see beyond end of week
  • CW- reinforces this idea- "If you had two bits in the worl', why you'd be in gettin' two shots of corn with it and suckin' the bottom of the glass. I know you guys."
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Section Four- Death on the farm

CLIFF NOTES CONTINUED...

  • Crooks certainly tells the reality of the story in one of the most poignant speeches in the novel: "Just like heaven. Ever'body wants a little piece of lan'. I read plenty of books out here. Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land. It's just in their head. They're all the time talkin' about it, but it's jus' in their head."
  • This speech foreshadows George's plight at the end of the book.
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Section Five- Murder by Mistake

Summary

  • Lennie has killed the puppy Slim gave him- "Why do you go to get killed? You ain't so little as mice."
  • He tries to bury the dead puppy in the barn
  • CW enters & talks to L about her dslike of C & her dream to be a movie star
  • She invites L to stroke her hair but panics when she feels his strength
  • Lennie panics & tries to quiteten her & then gets angry & shakes her to death
  • A manhunt is organised to find L who has fled
  • G imples to Candy the dream is over- "I think I knowed we'd never do her."
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Section Five- Murder by Mistake

Why is this section important?

  • It seals Lennies fate
  • It shows the sad loneliness of Curleys Wife as well as her negative affect on others
  • It suggests the dream of the farm will die with Lennie
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Section Five- Murder by Mistake

Portraying Men and Women

  • Feminists argue- encourages old fashioned stereotypical images of women
  • Argue- S- sees prostitutes as a man's right & that the only women who appears in the novel is a passive victim, a threat to men - described in terms of her sexuality
  • Men in novel are also frequently imperfect- S has sympathy for CW- portrayed as a pathetic figure- own unrealistic dream & destructive marriage with nothing to distract her or make her happy- much of a victim as L
  • Basing a novel around a group of men & what we see today as macho values- S is writing in a firmly American Tradition
  • Concentration of male figures allows him to examine a theme in America of the 1930s- men are in charge
  • Yet novel shows how little anyone- men & women- is in control of their lives
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Chapter Five- Murder by Mistake

Dreams & reality

  • George tells Candy the dream is over- "I think I knowed we'd never do her."
  • Suggest L was as in important in the dream as money
  • G knew all along it was just a dream- an idea that brought comfort
  • Aslo mean that G wanted a farm because it was the only way to find peace for L rather than something he wanted to do
  • Shows- humans have a dream world where good things happen & the real world which is brutal, lonely & unfair
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Chapter 5- Murder by Mistake

Warnings

  • Warnings through novel about ending
  • Anything Lennie strokes is killed by his strength
  • The puppies death warns us what will happen if L touches CW & we already know what happened to girl in Weed
  • Despite this- S makes L seem innocent- simply likes to touch soft things like a child- tragic- mind of child, body of strong man
  • "Lennie never done it in meaness... All the time he done bad things, but he never done one of 'em mean." (pg104)
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Chapter 5- Murder by Mistake

CLIFF NOTES

  • Filled with characters- thoughts described precisely- Lennie's fear, Curley wife's musings and then her terror, George's stoic acceptance, Curley's meanness, and Candy's despondency
  • Occur because of- meeting in barn between L & CW- seals the fate of all involved
  • Panics when he realises he's done a bad thing- same panic when C baited him
  • Lennie differentiates at some level between pup death & CW death as he runs to bushes near pond- however- doesn't fully comprehend the implicatiosn of her death- evidences by his taking the pups body so G wouldn't see
  •  This action — and the thought process that preceded it — reemphasizes Lennie's child-like understanding of the events that have transpired
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Chapter 5- Murder by Mistake

CLIFF NOTES

  • Throughout- S describes CW- in terms of appearance & reactions of others-  "tart," "********," and various other derogatory terms
  • This scene- reader gets a different view- talks about her lost dream- situation is the result of a series of bad choices and unhappy circumstance.
  •  She lives a solitary life on a ranch, with no companion, no one to talk to, and in continual fear that her husband will beat up any person in sight
  • Actions & flirtations- exacerbated unhappiness, S- gives us a view of her past, & we discover that she, like everyone else in the novel — and perhaps even more so — is a victim of loneliness.
  • S- reinforces this kinder impression of Curley's wife- description of her in death.
  •  Momentarily, the light from the setting sun becomes softer and shines across her body. She no longer looks like a tart who needs attention; instead she looks like a young, pretty, innocent girl, sleeping lightly.
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Chapter 5- Murder by Mistake

CLIFF NOTES CONTINUED...

  • G- accepts its the end of the dream- reader feels he never really believed
  • Without Lennie, the dream is gone and perhaps never really existed except in the words that made Lennie's happiness complete.
  • George's words echo the prophesy of Crooks when he imagines what his life will be like without Lennie
  •  "I'll work my month an' I'll take my fifty bucks an' I'll stay all night in some lousy cat house. Or I'll set in some poolroom till ever'body goes home. An' then I'll come back an' work another month an' I'll have fifty bucks more."
  •  Gone is the dream. Gone are the complaints about what he could do if he did not have Lennie around his neck. Now he will be alone like everyone else.

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Section Six- The end of the dream

Summary

  • L waits for G by the clearing by the pool- "Hide in the brush an' wait for George"- L says to himself
  • He sees a vision of his Aunt Clara- who reprimands him
  • A vision of a giant rabbit tells L G will leave him
  • G arrives & comforts L & then shoots him dead "I want you to stay with me here".
  • Slim comforts G & tells him he had no choice- "You hadda, George, I swear you hadda." (pg117)
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Chapter Six- The end of the dream

Why is this section important?

  • It brings the novel to a dramatic climax
  • It finishes the novel back where it started
  • It introduces for the first and last time two fantasy visions
  • At the same time- it shows us Steinbeck's brilliance at natural description
  • It shows us a tragic but inevitable ending to George & Lennies relationship
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Section Six- The end of the dream

The setting: background to death

  • Opens- description reminiscent of the opening of the novel- in opening there was a heron & a water snake, now the heron kills the water snake- prepares us for Lennie's death
  • Marvellous image of the sun blazing on the Gabilan moutains & the contrast with the shade of the pool- S makes use of light in descriptions
  • "tiny wind waves"- remind us of the waves caused by Lennie in the opening section
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Section Six- The end of the dream

The Visions

  • Aunt Clara & the giant rabbit- poetic & very different from Steinbeck's style in rest of novel
  • Condemmed as being unrealistic & totally beyond thw ability of limited mind such as Lennie's to generate- the giant rabbit may appear ridiculous rather than poetic
  • However- both give clear insight into Lennies feelings- show his guilt & genuine inability to control himself- a giant with the mind of a baby
  • Show how much Lennie suffers- Aunt Clara & rabbit hurt Lennie deeply by challenging him no how he rewards George's care
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Section Six- The end of the dream

Irony

  • Irony in the fact that George takes Carlson's pistol in case he has to kill Lennie as an act of mercy- his decision to kill Lennie in order to protect him is based on the paradox of being cruel to be kind.

Dramatic tension

  • Significant in last scene- we know he's going to kill Lennie but the reader has to wait- going over dream for last time
  • Dramatic irony between opening & closing- same setting, one filled with hope is now a scene of despair
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Section Six- The end of the dream

CLIFF NOTES

  • Story ends where it began- values of setting have changed- istead of place of santuary it is a place of death, instead of rabbits playing- a heron eats a snake, instead of a gentle breeze there are brown dying leaves & a gush of wind. - instead of companionship for G there is a future of loneliness
  • Two visions- Aunt Clara & rabbit- neither scold him in regards of killing CW- he doesnt understand the concept of guilt or remorse
  • His thoughts focus on the pattern he & G have established- L does a bad thing, G scolds him, threatens to leave & then tells him the dream of the ranch.
  • The fact that Lennie anticipates the same pattern this time is indicative of his childlike innocence.
  •  Instead of asking George right away for the story of the farm, he asks him for the story of "giving me hell." He knows this will make George feel better, and everything will be alright again.
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Section Six- The end of the dream

CLIFF NOTES CONTINUED...

  • George, however, cannot finish the story of what he would do without Lennie. He falters, realizing that soon he truly will be without Lennie.
  • When Lennie realizes that George is not going to beat him or leave him, he playfully finishes the story, and he adds why they are different from the others: "An' I got you. We got each other, that's what, that gives a hoot in hell about us."
  •  Now the story of the ranch and the dream is the only one left, and George begins that, picturing a world where no one will steal from them or be mean. But, of course, this story is not reality in a cold, harsh world. There is no place for innocence or people who look out for each other.
  •  As Lennie envisions the dream that seemed so close a few days ago, George shoots him as Carlson shot Candy's dog, and like the dog, without a quiver, Lennie dies.
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Section Six- The end of the dream

CLIFF NOTES CONTINUED...

  • Earlier in the novel, Slim told Candy it would be better to put his dog down, better for their "society" as a whole.
  • This comment begins a number of comparisons between Candy's dog and Lennie.
  • George never really understood how dangerous Lennie could be and always thought Lennie's strength could be restrained.
  • Now it is obvious that Lennie is a danger to society, even though innocent in the motivations for his actions.
  • Candy had no other merciful options for his dog, and George sees no other options for Lennie.
  • As Slim explained, locking Lennie up would be inhumane; Curley threatens to harm Lennie by shooting him many times.
  • When Carlson shot Candy's dog, he displayed no concern for Candy's feelings. The same is true for the others' re
  • actions to Lennie's death. Carlson and the others cannot fathom why George is upset. The final similarity in the two situations is the fearful future of loneliness facing both Candy and George.
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Section Six- The end of the dream

CLIFF NOTES CONTINUED...

  • When the ranch hands appear, George lies about the murder.
  • He quietly concurs that Lennie had Carlson's gun. George feels numb and empty, but he has done what he felt he had to do.
  • Slim understands, taking him for a drink.
  •  But Carlson and Curley can not understand why George feels so bad. Their last words — "Now what the hell ya suppose is eatin' them two guys?" — indicate that the world is a cold and harsh place.
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Comments

Paul Dutton

A really thorough guide to the plot of the novel.  Good for some quick revision.

Rachel 1

Brilliant!!!!

Lareyb24

..

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