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Of Mice and Men

The new one
by

Joshua Large

on 27 September 2013

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Transcript of Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men
Characters
Themes
Lennie
George
Main
Candy
Curley
Curley's wife
Crooks
Minor
Whit
Carlson
The Boss
Described in many ways as an animal by Steinbeck
Innocent
Neither have the capacity to act morally or distinguish bad from good
Both act on instincts rather than moral
Compared by Steinbeck to a
bear
- 'the way a bear drags his paws
The only way Lennie is safe is by asking as if a tame dog - tethered to his master (George), and can never be let out of his sight
Or a wild dog, having to be put down
A bull
- it is said that red enrages them, Curley's wife wore red a lot, and Lennie killed her at the end of the novella
Basic knowledge
Itinerant, running away from Weed, trying to earn enough money to own land of their own
Childlike and simple, enjoys petting soft things
Needs to be reminded of their dream
Picked on by Curley, although popular with the other workers
Admires Curley's wife - 'Purty'
Kills Slim's pup by accident and tries to hide it in the barn, foreshadowing Curley's wife's death
Hides by the pool, before being shot by George as an act of kindness. He could have been lynched, tortured by Curley, or sent to jail
Important quotes
'A huge man, shapeless of face, and he walked...the way a bear drags his paws. His arms hung loosely' - suggesting Lennie's strength (bear), animal like and childlike
"Cause I can jus' as well go away, George, an' live in a cave" - although Lennie is simple and maybe mentally disabled, he shows cleverness to try and manipulate George into realizing that he doesn't need Lennie
"Come on George, tell me. Please, George. Like you done before" - delighting in hearing the dream, like a child with a favourite bedtime story
"Lennie can put up more grain alone than most pairs can" - emphasising his strength, although it can be his weakness. George also uses it to find work for the two of them
"He was so scairt, he couldn't let go of that dress" - when Lennie is scared he panics, and uses his strength to hold on, rather than letting go
"I didn't want no trouble" - Lennie is innocent, he means no harm, and doesn't realise his own strength
"Me an' him goes ever' place together" - emphasises how Lennie needs George to look after him, and for intelligence, while George needs Lennie for his strength
"Why do you got to get killed? You ain't so little as mice. I didn't bounce you hard" - Lennie would rather blame the incident on the animals rather than his big hands, and great strength, he refuses to take the blame
"I done a real bad thing. I should't have did that. George'll be mad" - Lennie is too worried about not being able to tend the rabbits, that he forgets that he's just murdered Curley's wife. Again, he relies on George to judge wether what he did was wrong or right
Chapter summaries
Basic knowledge
Lennie's friend/companion
Goes to many
inconveniences
to look after Lennie, although he wants
freedom
Protects and occasionally rescues Lennie
Orders Lennie to fight back against Curley
Shoots Lennie as an act of kindness
His intelligence is worth little, because he is stuck with Lennie, however without Lennie, work would be much harder to find
Travelling with Lennie gives him a
status
- if somebody would want to pick a fight with him, they'd also have to pick a fight with Lennie
George is
responsible
for Lennie and dealing with his
consequences
- paternal figure
Nobody other than Slim understood the connection between Lennie and George, and how hard it was for him to shoot Lennie at the end of the novella
Important quotes
'Small, quick, dark of face, with restless eyes and sharp strong features'
-
intelligence
, strong personality,
awareness
and maybe unhappiness (restless)
"What the hell kind of bed you giving us anyways?" - cleanliness, healthy
"I ain't nothin' to scream about, but Lennie there can put up more grain than most pairs" - modesty, George also
relies on Lennie's strength
for work
"You keep away from Curley, Lennie"-
Senses danger, considerate
as Lennie may not have thought this through
"Get 'im Lennie" - sense of
justice
, doesn't want Lennie to be treated badly by other people, because Lennie doesn't necessarily notice
Boss’ son, therefore more
power
over his fellow colleagues
Reputation as a
fighter
Small, aggressive, wears high heeled boots
like the boss – short stature
Events
Meet when he’s looking for his wife, acts aggressively towards George and Lennie –
mocks
as if they’re homosexual
Re-enters the bunkhouse after his wife flirted with Slim
Gets in a
fight
whilst in the bunkhouse, with Lennie, who crushes his hand
Slim blackmails him into saying that he got it caught in a machine, or else he’d tell everyone else what actually happened – would be too embarrassed for everyone to know that he lost maybe
Lead the mob who wanted to lynch Lennie after he killed Curley’s wife
Key quotes
‘He hates big guys
. He’s alla time picking scraps with big guys. Kind of like he’s mad at ‘em ‘cause he ain’t a big guy’ – determined to prove everyone that he is a big man, obsession with his amateur boxing
‘Curley says he’s keeping that hand soft for his wife’ – makes
obscene allusions to his wife
, although goes to the brothel every Saturday night
‘Brown face’, ‘like the boss, he wore high heeled-boots’
– Brown face suggests he works a lot, in the sun. High-heeled boots – wants authority, can’t achieve with a short stature
‘Seen my old man’ – Emphasising that he’s the boss’ son, and more
authority
than every other worker
‘His arms gradually bent at the elbows ad his hands closed into fists’ –
intimidating
, underlines his
aggressive behaviour
as if looking for a fight, trying to scare George and Lennie
‘Oh, so it’s that way’ – making a
homosexual comment
towards Lennie and George, mocking,
provocative
‘Old Swamper’ – ranch cleaner
Old, crippled
Lost right hand in an accident
Described in a similar way to his dog
Timid in the way that he was manipulated by Carlson into him killing the dog
*Name implies sweetness, although Candy is bitter*
Events
Introduces Lennie and George to the ranch and the boss
Warns Lennie and George against Curley
Carlson kills Candy’s dog
Carlson is disrespectful in the way that he kills the dog, manipulative, doesn’t care for their companionship/doesn’t respect that they’ve been together for so long
Offers
$300
of his savings to George and Lennie to live with them on their dream farm
Argues with Curley’s wife alongside Crook and Lennie briefly in the harness room
Discovers Curley’s wife’s dead body
Key quotes
‘Tall, stoop shouldered old man’,
‘I gotta gut ache’
– both emphasise Candy’s physical
weaknesses
and age from the start
The dog – ‘a drag-footed sheep dog, grey of muzzle and with pale, blind, blue eyes’ – emphasising the
similarities between Candy and his dog
, gains our
respect
and
sympathy
‘Candy looked helplessly at him, for Slim’s opinions were law’ – emphasises Slim’s authority, Candy’s
weakness in personality, gave in to Carlson too easily, lost hope
Candy’s dog
Killed because of its
bad smell, old, rheumatism, can’t eat or move properly
Death
foreshadows
Lennie’s death, because of the
way Carlson shoots
the dog/
George shoots
Lennie
‘Ancient’ – fragile, old, treasured
‘I been around him so much I never notice how he stinks’ –
tolerance/patience, companionship
– been together for so long
Isolation
Isolated
Ranch
Solitaire/Soledad
Solitude/Loneliness
Lennie and George
Friendship
Curley's wife
Only woman
In a dysfunctional marriage
Crooks
Skin
colour and rights
Candy
Old, crippled -
can't keep up with the rest of the workers
Young, attractive, newly married to Curley
Flirts
with other ranch workers,
causing conflict
between Slim and Curley
Creates
tension
in the bunkhouse
Only female
to appear
Killed by Lennie
Although she has a very
negative impact
on the characters, Steinbeck makes us
sympathise
with her after being killed
'She had full,
rouged
lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made up. Her fingernails were
red
. Her hair hung in little rolled clusters like sausages' - described as a
'tart'
, seen as
'jail bait'
by the other ranch workers, red a symbol of
danger, and death
''Think I'm gonna stay in that two-by-four house and listen how Curley's gonna lead with his left twice, and then bring in the ol' right cross' - lonely,
trapped in a loveless marriage
, bored of Curley's stories and doesn't like
his arrogance
. May be mocking the workers' style of living too
''You know what I can do if you open your trap?'' - vindictive, although she is almost the lowest in the hierarchy, she
uses Curley and the Boss, to gain power, and to threaten the others
"He says he was gonna put me in the movies" - Curley's wife's aspiration of being a movie star was destroyed, although she is unaware that they may have used her in a sexual manner
'She was very pretty and simple, and her face was sweet and young' - she is looked at on the outside as being
innocent
, however she is
manipulative, and threatening
Slim
'Tart'
Flirtatious
Often wears red - symbolises death, danger
*Dresses inappropriately - seductive, red - would enrage a bull (Lennie)*

Doesn't have a name
Owned by Curley/possession
Lower in hierarchy
Hands
Candy
Missing
hand, at a disadvantage
Highlights his
weaknesses
and
danger of working
on a ranch
Curley
Crushed
by Lennie,
'glove fulla' vaseline', boxer
Curley's wife
Nail varnish - red
- danger, flirting
George
Killing
Lennie, playing
solitaire
Lennie
Paws, Petting, Strength
Scene 1
Soledad, describes the
area
- Salinas river, Gabilan mountain
Lizards, rabbits, racoons, dogs, deer, heron
Introduces both characters
-George - small and quick, dark of face, with restless eyes, and sharp, strong features. Defined small strong hands, slender arms, a thin and bony nose
-Lennie - a huge man, shapeless of face, large, pale eyes, wide, sloping shoulders, walked heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws, arms hung loosely
-Both wearing identical clothes - denim trousers, denim coats with brass buttons, black shapeless hats, tight blanket rolls
Shows contrast between the two characters

Lennie dunks his head in the water, where as George approaches cautiously - 'looks kinda scummy'
Lennie
imitates
George in the way he knelt over the green pool
Lennie forgot where they were going, George gets
angry
at his forgetfulness
George confiscates a dead mouse from Lennie, who jumps into a river to retrieve it, before collecting fire wood
We learn about the
incident in weed
Lennie urges George to
recite the dream
to him

Importance -
Setting
- Soledad - Spanish for solitude
Introduces
characters and their relationship, and contrasts
Why
they're there-looking for work to fulfill their dream, running away from Weed

Themes
- Dream/Aspirations, Hopes, Friendship, George's paternal role

Ideas -
Scummy water
implies bad ending
George - although cares for Lennie, and puts up with him, he can be unpleasant - criticizing Lennie for his forgetfulness, orders him, takes advantage of his stupidity for authority
Scene 2
Arrive at the bunkhouse - shown around by Candy
George worries that his bed had lice living on it
Meet Curley - who tries to pick a fight with Lennie
- Pretty handy. He done quite a bit in the ring. Hates big guys
Meet Curley's wife, flirts
George senses trouble and reminds Lennie to go to the brush
Meet Slim - Jerk line skinner, authority and dignity
Slim offers pup to Lennie

Importance
Introduces
bunkhouse
where they have to live
Introduces other main characters
Curley + Wife - Threat to George and Lennie
Clear hint of trouble
Of Mice and Men
Scene 3
Slim gives one of his pups to Lennie
George explains to Slim why he travels around with Lennie - after his Aunt Clara died
George explains to Slim why they were run out of Weed
Carlson
persuades
Candy to let him kill his old, crippled, smelly dog
Whit shows Slim a letter in a magazine about cowboys that was written by one of the former ranch workers
Whit
asks George to join them in the brothel
the following night
Curley argues with Slim after she had flirted with him
George and Lennie discuss the dream, Candy overhears and
offers his money to help with it, if he can live there
Curley
picks a fight with Lennie
who crushes his hand
Slim blackmails Curley into saying that he caught it in a machine

Importance
Makes us think that the
dream could come true
Explains in more detail George and Lennie's relationship - emphasises the loneliness in the workers' lives
Lennie
doesn't realize his strength
as he tells George that he didn't want to hurt Curley
Cruelty portrayed
when Candy's dog is killed, foreshadows Lennie's death
Magazine -
the lives that the workers aspire to lead (dreams/aspirations)

LIGHT - 'Although there was evening brightness showing through the windows of the bunk house, inside it was dusk' - symbol of loss of hope, much of Slim and George's discussion happens in the dark
Scene 4
Lennie goes into the harness room while everyone else was out in the brothel
Crooks
doesn't want him there
but he lets him stay because he doesn't consider him a threat
Crooks talks to Lennie, and starts
teasing
them when he suggests that they're going to by land of their own
Candy joins them, and Crooks nearly believes that it could happen
Curley's wife comes in and starts
mocking
them. Crooks gets angry and when he threatens her, she says she could accuse him of rape and have him lynched

Importance
Almost a
rest before the climax, common to authors
Introduces the idea of racial prejudice
Injustice is highlighted
as we see how easily Curley's wife mocks Crooks and threatens him
Loneliness is emphasised
, as everyone else is out in the brothel, Curley is not with his wife (again)

Pride and injustice
Shattered dreams
Crooks - 'proud and aloof', Crooks originally buys into the idea of the farm, but withdraws when Curley's wife humiliates him
Crooks' pride comes because
-he has no dreams and no illusions of life being fair, which gives him the strength to be proud
Scene 5
Lennie
accidentally kills
Slim's pup with his strength
He tries to bury it in the barn, before Curley's wife joins him to talk
She tells him of her
dislike
to Curley and her
aspiration
of being a movie star
Lennie tries to tell her of their dream, but she's only interested in telling Lennie of hers
She allows Lennie to
stroke her hair,
but panics when she feels his strength
Lennie
panics and tries to quieten her, but he gets angry as she starts screaming, and accidentally breaks her neck
Candy finds Curley's wife's body, and Curley arranges a mob of people to go searching for Lennie
George tells Candy that the
dream is over,
and he goes out to the brush to look for Lennie - suggests that Lennie was
as much a part of the dream as the money

Importance
Seals Lennie's fate
Makes us
empathize with Curley's wife of her loneliness
Suggests that the dream will
die with Lennie

Warnings
We know what happens when Lennie strokes something - mouse and the pup foreshadow her death
Mind of a child, body of a very strong man
Scene 6
Lennie is waiting by the brush for George
He sees a
vision of his Aunt Clara, who reprimands him,
and a
rabbit, who tells him that George will leave him
George arrives and comforts him, before
shooting him while reciting the dream to him
Slim comforts George, and offers him a drink, while
Carlson can't see the fuss

Importance
Brings the novella to a
dramatic climax
Finishes where they started
Shows the
tragic but inevitable end
to George and Lennie's relationship

Cyclical quality
- starts with a heron and a water snake, heron then eats the water snake, telling us what might happen to Lennie
The Vision -
Poetic, unrealistic
to the point that only a mind of Lennie's disability would be able to dream
Jerk-line skinner
In control of the horses
One of the
highest in the hierarchy

Charismatic, Prince-like, Skilled, Decency, understanding - life is hard, dreams don't come true
Drowns the pups because the mother couldn't feed them
Gives a puppy to Lennie
Talks to George in the bunkhouse
Agrees that Candy's dog must be killed -
everyone takes orders and advice from him
Makes Curley promise not to blame his crushed hand on Lennie, that it was a machine
Comforts
George after he killed Lennie
'Godlike'
and 'moved with
majesty
' - Suggests attractiveness, almost princely - enough to make Curley's wife flirt with him other workers
admire
him and opinions
,
causes Curley to be
jealous
'Understanding beyond thought' - He doesn't need to think things through to understand them, he realises that Lennie and George get on well, what Lennie was like, and why George had to kill him
'There was
gravity in his manner...all talk stopped when he spoke'
-
Respected
and listened to, what he normally says has
'gravity' or importance
'His hands,
large and lean, were as delicate in their action as those of a temple dancer'
- muscular and strong,but skilful also, as if an artist or performer
'Capable of killing a fly on the wheeler's butt with a bull whip, without touching the mule' - shows great skill
'Prince of the ranch' - everyone looks up to him, everyone takes authority from him
Stable buck - supports horses and mules
Discriminated
because he is
black
Bent/'busted' spine, which is why he goes by the name of Crooks, because of his crooked back
Bitter, cynical
- maybe because he has so few rights, disability
Lonely,
isolated
by his race
Lives in the harness room
with the horses - showing isolation
Maybe
takes interest in making people as unhappy as he is - taunting Lennie
Tells Slim that Lennie is handling the pups
Lets Lennie stay and talk while everyone else is out in the brothel
Taunts Lennie that George might never come back
Then joined by Candy, who discusses the dream, and then Curley's wife who
mocks
them about it
Crooks
challenges
her, but is told that she could accuse him of rape if he says a word
Having briefly agreed to join Lennie and George, he quickly
backed out
having been
humiliated
by Curley's wife
"Nice fella too. Got a crooked back where a horse kicked him. The boss gives him hell when he's mad. But the stable buck don't give a damn about that. He
reads a lot
. Got books in his room" - Crooks is proud, independent, and intelligent, yet he still gets 'hell' from the boss
'Crooks was a proud aloof man...his eyes...seemed to glitter with intensity...he had thin,
pain tightened lips
' - His life is
dominated by pain
- discriminated for being black, his busted back, but he rises above it
"I ain't wanted in the bunk house...
'cause I'm black"
- victim of racial prejudice
"I had enough," he said coldly. "You got no rights comin' in a colored man's room" - has enough pride and independence to stand up to Curley's wife
'Crooks had reduced himself to nothing. There was no personality, no ego - nothing to arouse either like or dislike' - Crooks' stand is useless, shows how little power a black person has in the real world
'You guys is just kiddin' yourself. You'll talk about it a hell of a lot, but you won't get no land' - Cynical, Crooks' structural role is to appear two-thirds of the way through and to
forewarn us for the destruction of Lennie and George's dream
Stocky, short man
Reasonable man
Gets angry occasionally, but buys whisky for everyone at Christmas
Wife never mentioned - maybe dead
'Powerful, big-stomached'
Insensitive
-
pressurizes
Candy to let him shoot his dog,
-George killing Lennie,
doesn't see the fuss
Young
Finds a letter in a magazine written by an ex-ranch worker
No involvement with the novella or it's themes
Goes to call the Sheriff after Curley's wife is found dead
Background
Of Mice and Men
John Steinbeck in 1937
Set during The Great Depression in
California

Named after Scottish Poet
Robert Burns
’ poem '
To a Mouse
'
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley' - go often astray
Crooks - 'Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land' -
unconscious revelation
of the
desires
of the many itinerant workers
Bitter irony is that Lennie goes to heaven, and gets land of his own (a grave)

On October 29 1929, millions of dollars were wiped out in an event that became known as the
Wall Street Crash
It led to the Depression in America which crippled the country from 1930 - 1936
People lost their
life savings
when
firms and banks went bust
12 - 15 million men and women - one third of America's population - were
unemployed
.
No dole
Food was short
Unemployed couldn't pay their rent
Some ended up in settlements called
'Hoovervilles'

(
after the US president of the time, Herbert C Hoover) in shanties made from
old packing cases and corrugated iron.

The Great Depression
The American Dream
Freedom, independence
, owning
land
of their own,
opportunities
, social
order
, be recognized by others regardless of their circumstances of birth or their position,
equality
.
Achievable but not sustainable

The dream is
unachievable to all
in the novella, because all migrant workers start at the
bottom of the hierarchy
, and it
isn't easy for them to ascend
. The dream
promotes equality, however the hierarchy promotes power

Loneliness
Names
Crooks
Nickname - nobody knows him very well,
crooked back
Soledad
Spanish for
Solitude
Implies a
town of loneliness
Weed
Undesirable
plant
Unpleasant
Curley
Nickname,
nobody knows him very well
Curley's wife
Curley's
possession
No name/identity
Candy
Sweet,
although
bitter
character
Dreams/Aspirations
What gives
hope
to the workers, something to look forward to/Escape from reality

Curley's wife -
moviestar, fame, end loneliness

George -
farm, freedom
from Lennie,
independence
Lennie -
rabbits, be with George, please George, quench the fixation for petting soft things
Crooks -
self-respect, acceptance by white people, equality
Curley's wife -
only woman
,
dysfunctional marriage
, deals with it by
flirting
with the other workers, always looking for Curley
Crooks -
only black man
, kept in the stable
away from everyone else
Candy -
lonely
after his dog dies, old, crippled, missing a hand -
can't keep up with other workers
Soledad -
Solitude/loneliness
Solitaire -
On one's own
Friendship
George and Lennie
Together since
Aunt Clara died
Share dream
George shoots Lennie
Rely on each other for work
Deal with it by going to the
brothel, alcohol, dreams and aspirations
George and Slim
Talked in the bunk house
Didn't evolve - migrant
Curley's wife and Slim
Slim is
respected
by everyone
Gentle
Unlike Curley, knows how to talk to women
Candy, George and Lennie
Share the dream together
Candy and his dog (Companionship)
Candy doesn't notice he smells because they've
been together for so long
Slim -
Only one
to have realized that
dreams will never come true

Light-
Symbol of hope

Curley's wife
Enters Harness room -
blocking
the light from the door by standing in the way - symbolises
loss
of hope
Slim talking to George in the bunk house
Turns on
electric
light,
Symbol of
false hope/superficial
Full transcript