Of Mice and Men Theme Quotes

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Of Mice and Men Theme Quotes

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FRIENDSHIP THEME:
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In this novella, friendship isn’t discussed heavily. George and Lennie don’t talk about how they feel about each other or why they should stay loyal – they just stand by each other. It’s a very harsh and rough atmosphere, and though feelings aren’t talked about, we get the sense that the men take nothing more seriously than their friendship. For George and Lennie, as they make their way through the Depression, all they have is each other.

FRIENDSHIP QUOTES:

QUOTE#1

LENNY: “I was only foolin’ George. I don’t want no ketchup. I wouldn’t eat no ketchup if it was right there beside me.”

GEORGE: "If it was here, you could have some."

LENNY: “But I wouldn’t eat none, George. I’d leave it all for you. You could cover your beans with it and I wouldn’t touch none of it." (1.93-95)

EXPLANATION:
Even after this awful fight, the men’s friendship has a simple and remarkable earnestness. George grudgingly knows he’s wrong and in fact really loves his friend, and even though Lennie can’t express it in a terribly complex way, he loves George back.

*Earnestness: Showing depth and sincerity of feeling.
*Grudgingly: Unwillingly.

QUOTE#2

GEORGE: “Guys like us that work on ranches are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place.”

LENNY: "That’s it—that’s it. Now tell how it is with us."

GEORGE: "With us it ain’t like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. We don’t have to sit in no bar room blowin’ in our jack jus’ because we got no place else to go. If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us."

LENNY: "But not us! An’ why? Because… because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s why." (1.113-116)

EXPLANATION:
This is a pretty timeless definition of friendship: somebody to listen, somebody to bail you out of jail, and most importantly, somebody that cares and looks out for you. It’s notable, too, that though George is the one who usually gives the speech, he’s clearly worked in the fact that both men rely on and look after each other. Again, George is a friend (and not a father or a master) because he is so willing to admit that he needs Lennie too.

QUOTE#3

CANDY: "Well-hell! I had him so long. Had him since he was a pup. I herded sheep with him." He said proudly, "You wouldn’t think it to look at him now, but he was the best damn sheep dog I ever seen." (3.56)

EXPLANATION:
Candy has the same feelings toward his dog that George has toward Lennie. Candy loves the dog though he smells, George loves Lennie though he’s not too bright and accidentally kills things. When asked to justify their friendships, both men simply say they’ve gotten used to being with their companion.

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ISOLATION THEME:
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Isolation in this novella is much more an abstract concept than a reality – the men are constantly together. It’s the source of terror of having to move, to hit the open road again, make new friends, new enemies, and keep finding yourself all over again that seems to plague the men. These transitions are enough to make a guy feel isolated, even when he’s surrounded by people.

ISOLATION QUOTES:

QUOTE#1

LENNY: "If you don’ want me I can g off in the hills an’ find a cave. I can go away any time."

GEORGE: "No—look! I was jus’ foolin’, Lennie. ’Cause I want you to stay with me." (1.103-104)

EXPLANATION:
Once Lennie seems ready to leave George alone (whether he actually is or not), George finally comes around to admitting that he needs Lennie. It seems he has realized that isolation simply isn’t worth it.

QUOTE#2

SLIM: "Ain’t many guys travel around together," he mused. "I don’t know why....
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