OF MICE AND MEN
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 ranches.”
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 heavily.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.” “Western magazines ranch men love to read and scoff at and secretly believe” shows the ranch men like to dream of a better life.
George and Lennie are late and the boss interrogates them. George keeps answering for Lennie who doesn’t talk at all, as George told him not to. “I ain’t sayin he’s bright, but he’s a God damn good worker.” George tries to explain why Lennie won’t talk – justifies by saying he is a skilled worker. The boss then tries to figure out why they are here together, as it is unusual, ranch men are alone usually. He accuses George of using Lennie for money. “I never seen one guy take so much trouble for another guy.” The boss shows the loneliness of ranch workers. George lies and says Lennie is his cousin, as it is unusual to have friends. He also lies about Lennie’s disability saying he got kicked by a horse, and lies about why they left Weed.
Candy gets in trouble with George as he was eavesdropping on their conversation. “A guy on a ranch don’t never listen nor he don’t ast no questions.” Shows that ranch workers are only concerned with themselves. His dog is described by Carlson who suggest shooting it and letting Candy have on of Slim’s puppies. “Ancient dog…half blind eyes…grizzled head sank to the floor again.” This could be seen as a reflection on Candy, as he is also old and disabled without a hand.
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