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Of Mice and Men

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Lukas Knirsch

on 5 December 2012

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Transcript of Of Mice and Men

Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck A Presentation by
Simon Tänzer, Patrick Best, Lukas Knirsch Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Lennie Small Candy Curley's Wife
Loneliness and Companionship are the primary themes in “Of Mice And Men”
“Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don't belong no place"
Constant travel leaves them without someone to talk
Loneliness is clearly illustrated through the lives of the characters Crooks, Candy and Curley’s wife Themes Their friendship is a result of loneliness
The only two ranch workers who travel together
Trust each other
“I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you"
Same dream American Dream Loneliness and Companionship Definition: “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”

Lennie’s and George’s dream of owning a farm
Holds their friendship together (Companionship)
Keeps Lennie happy
Stops George from becoming “mean” and lonely

Failed at the end

Crooks: “Nobody ever gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land.” Companionship Two men, Lennie and George walk along a path near Soledad, CA
On the way to a ranch where they intend to work as farmers
Lennie is mentally disabled
George finds Lennies petting a dead mouse, becomes angry, throws it away
They had to leave the the last place they have worked at because Lennie had stroked a girl’s dress and did not let her go -> locals thought he assaulted her
George tells Lennie to behave himself when they are meeting their new boss because he wants to no more trouble
They stay at a riverbed for the night
George complains about Lennie, asks himself loudly why he takes care of him
Later he feels sorry, tells Lennie his favorite story, the plan for their happy future
George tells Lennie to return to the riverbed if he causes any trouble at the ranch George and Lennie arrive at the ranch the next morning
They meet Candy with his old dog at the bunkhouse
The boss enters and George blames the bus driver for their lateness
George talks with the boss about their working skills
Curley, the boss’s son, enters, who quickly starts picking on Lennie
Curley leaves
George tells Lennie to stay away from Curley --> aggressive lightweight boxer
Curley’s pretty wife enters and asks for Curley
Slim tells her that Curley is back at the main house
George warns Lennie to stay away from her too
Slim is impressed by the friendship between Lennie and George
Carlson enters and asks Slim about his dog which has given birth to nine puppies
Carlson proposes shooting Candy’s crippled dog --> replacing it with one of the puppies
Lennie asks for a puppy too Slim agrees to give Lennie a puppy
Lennie goes to the barn to get it
He says Lennie is the best worker he has ever seen even though he is crazy
George defends Lennie against the insult
Slim admires their friendship again
Lennie enters with his puppy but George orders him to return the puppy
Candy, his dog and Carlson enter the bunkhouse
Carlson and Slim suggest to kill the old dog, Slim offers one of his puppies to Candy
Carlson takes the dog outside and shoots it
Candy can't defend his dog
Crooks, the black stable manager enters to pick up Slim
The men discuss Curley’s wife
They think that women don’t belong on ranches Lennie and Carlson enter the bunkhouse
Curley enters soon after, again looking for his wife
He suspects she’s with Slim in the barn and storms out
The other men follow, hoping for a fight
George and Lennie stay behind and begin talking about their farm
Candy hears their conversation
Offers his life savings of $350
George agrees
The other men return and George warns Lennie and Candy to keep the farm a secret
Slim, Curley and Carlson enter
Curley apologizes to Slim for suspecting him
Lennie smiles, thinking about the farm
Curley thinks Lennie is laughing at him and starts punching him
Lennie easily breaks Curley’s hand
Curley wants to fire George and Lennie
Slim defends Lennie Chapter 3 Lennie joins Crooks in his room, because everyone else went into the town and he feels lonely
Lennie tells Crooks about the dream farm
Crooks insinuates that George may never come back
Lennie calms down after Crooks retracts his comment??
Crooks says that every guy needs someone to talk to
Candy comes in, because he feels lonely too
Candy talks about the farm
Curley’s wife appears
Curley’s wife reveals she’s lonely and wants someone to talk to
They respond by trying to get her to leave
She asks Lennie how he got the bruises on his face
Crooks tells her again to leave
The men return from the town
Candy admits that they have told Crooks about the farm
Crooks claims he was joking George Milton Lennie is alone in the barn with a dead puppy
Oscillates between feelings of sorrow and anger
Curley’s wife joins him
She sees the puppy and tells him not to feel bad
She tells him about her unattained dream
Lennie pets her hair a little too hard -> breaks her neck and kills her accidently
Lennie knows he has done a bad thing
He remembers George’s instruction about where to go in case things get bad -> he leaves
Candy enters the barn sees Curley’s dead wife
Candy runs to George to discuss the possibilities
Candy asks if that’s the end of the farm Lennie is at the pool waiting for George
He talks to himself repeating that George will be mad and give him hell
George asks Lennie what he is yelling about
George explains that it does not matter this time
Lennie asks for “the story”
George tells Lennie to take his hat off and to look across the river while he tells him their dream once again
Lennie happily listens to the story -> George pulls Carlson’s pistol out
He explains that everyone will be nice to him on their place and there won’t be any trouble or theft
Lennie asks if George is mad -> George tells him he never was mad at him and is not mad now
George shoots Lennie and throws the gun away
The men hear the shot and run up
They assume Lennie had Carlson’s gun and George numbly agrees
Slim says to George that they should go for a drink and that he had to do what he did George admits that he never really wanted to get a farm
George has given up his dream
Candy didn’t think Lennie could do anything like this
They have to tell the others what has happened
George has a plan
The men come in the barn and Curley realizes that Lennie did it
He is furious and wants to kill Lennie -> urges others to come with him
Carlson runs off to get his pistol
Slim tells George that Curley is going to kill Lennie Carlson claims that Lennie stole his gun
George weakly begs Curley not to shoot Lennie, but Curley refuses his request for mercy
The men leave and Curley makes George go with them to prove he had nothing to do with the killing of Curley's wife
They depart and Candy remains with Curley's dead wife Chapter 5 Loneliest character
Racism against black
The other men treat him terribly
They call him "nigger"
Has to sleep in a separated room
Nobody talks to him

"I ain't been wanted in the bunkhouse... They play cards there; I can't play because I'm black." Crooks Curley's wife Only woman on the farm
Gets discriminated
Curley is always jealous
She is not allowed to talk to others
Gets called "Curley's wife"
Not important enough to have a name
Dream of becoming an actor failed

"I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely." Candy Old, one-handed
Reduced to the role of a swamper
Lost his dog as his only friend
Loneliest point of his life
Companionship is necessary
enjoyable life
"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 and he gets sick."
All characters experience negative feelings

The author gives no real solution Huge, Lumbering
Described sometimes like an animal
Raised up by his Aunt
Personality like a child
Mentally limited
Great loyalty to George
Gets in trouble all the time
“Wants to touch everything he likes”
Cannot control his massive strength
Loves animals
Believes in their dream farm Weak, old, one-handed
Doesn’t need much except his dog
Parallel between Candy and his dog and George and Lennie
Afraid of being useless
Isolated, lonely
Offers his savings to help financing the dream farm Wears too much make-up -> dresses like a “whore”
Has no name
Lennie is fascinated by her -> tells “she’s purty”
Dislikes Curley but is controlled by him
Sad and lonely
Try to get the attention of the workers
“Trouble maker”
Her deaths means the end of Lennie’s and George’s dream Curley Small but strong
Boss‘s son
Work glove on his left hand
Only evil character
Was an amateur boxer -> picks up fights
Hates taller men
Newly married Scene George <-> Lennie Context published in 1937, takes place at the same time
during the 30s US economy struggled
October 29 1929: Wall Street Crash
-> Era of Great Depression (1930-1936), high unemployment rates, food shortage
additional problem: Dust Bowl or Dirty Thirties, a series of duststorms caused by droughts in the Great Plains area
-> failed harvests, dried up land, farmers could not repay their bank loans, many moved West to CA
Steinebeck had a wealthy background, yet he was interested in ‘ranch hands’s” life and spent time working on farms himself

the Amercan Dream and its various aspects is a major theme of the novel

many anologies between “The Tortilla Cutain” and “Of Mice and Men” can be found Link to the topics dealt with in class Point of view:
third person narrator
narrator “could” tell what everybody is feeling and thinking, but he only does once -> limited omniscent
probably 2 reasons:
novel is intended to be usable as a play as well
not telling how the characters feel/think mirrows there character traits / ranch life Point of view: colloquial, unpretentious language in all dialogs
narrative style is more formal/gramatically correct but still simple
probbly 2 reasons
o workers like L. and G. talked like that, their dialogs should be authentic
o language mirrows the statement of the novel / Steinbeck’s opinion: even working class people without big vocabularies they can still communicate about what really matters,
-> social status does not matter Language: intensive foreshadowing through the entire novel -> hinting the tragic end
important symbols / leitmotifs:
the farm: dream of an idylic life, freedom, self-reliance
puppy: victory of the strong over the weak, the tragic in Lennies character
Candy’s dog: unimportance of emotion in a world of cruel nature law
hands: hinting the characters traits and problems
imagery from the animal world: the workers’s bad living conditions Stylistic devices: Original Title “Something That Happened”
Later changed: extract from the poem “To a Mouse, on Turning her up in her Nest, with the Plough” by Robert Burns (1759-96)
“But Mousie, thou art no thy lane, In proving foresight may be vain: The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft agley, An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, For promis'd joy!” Title Discussion Thank you for your attention! Small
Born in Auburn
Known Lennie’s Aunt Clara
Friendly, helpful, careful
Ordinary workman
Loves Lennie
Takes care and protects him
Strong responsibility
Foresees possible complications
Needs Lennie's friendship
Often gets angry because of Lennie’s disability of remembering
Never really believed in their dream farm Plot
Discussion Chapter 1
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