. After Lennie leaves, the men come in from their horseshoe game, which Crooks has apparently won. Carlson begins complaining again about the smell of Candy's old dog. He goads Candy to shoot the dog, which Candy refuses to do. Carlson then offers to shoot the dog himself. After Slim speaks up in favor of shooting the dog, Candy reluctantly allows Carlson to take the dog outside with his Luger and a shovel. Candy sinks into a deep melancholy and the men try to lighten the atmosphere with talk of cards and magazine articles. Just as they begin a game of euchre, a shot rings out in the night. As they wind down for the evening, Lennie asks George to tell him "about the rabbits," and George launches into his monologue about their proposed self-sustaining farm - complete with rabbits, pigs, cats and a vegetable garden. Candy, who has been listening in, asks how much such a place would cost. George, though put off at first by Candy's nosiness, eventually lets on that he has a lead on a plot of land that could be bought for six hundred dollars. Candy reveals that he has a secret stash of money - three-hundred and fifty dollars - and offers to give it all to George and Lennie if they'll let him live on their farm and work as a housekeeper. After a quick calculation George figures that they could make a down payment on the property after only a month's work. The three men sit, enraptured and astounded that their dream of a self-sufficient farm life might actually become a reality. Curley returns with Whit, Carlson and Slim. Curley has accused Slim of eying his wife, a charge which Slim and the others laugh off. Lennie, who is still dreaming about the rabbits, also smiles, which leads Curley to confront him aggressively. Curley punches Lennie in the face. Lennie does not immediately fight back, instead crying and calling to George for help. When Curley doesn't back off, George tells Lennie to "get 'em." Lennie catches Curley's next punch in his massive paw and crushes down on his hand. George tells Lennie to let go, but Lennie only grips harder out of fear. Curley flops like a fish. By the time Lennie finally relaxes his grip, Curley's hand has been ruined. Before Curley goes to the hospital, he agrees to pretend that he has caught his hand in a machine. Lennie is afraid that he has done something bad, but George reassures him that he hasn't as the chapter closes. Analysis
Once again, every visible action in this chapter takes place in the bunk house as characters make their exits and entrances. Steinbeck carefully controls the events, weaving even the smallest detail into a rich whole. The atmosphere remains gloomy as the action progresses from the account of Lennie and George's near-lynching, to the shooting of Candy's dog, to the fight between Curley and Lennie - with one exceptional spot of light, George's monologue "about the rabbits" and Candy's offer to finance their dream. To take these events as they occur, the near-lynching in Weed provides another instance of the danger of women. Again, Steinbeck gives voice to attitudes that are sexist at best. He already showed Curley's wife acting just as desperately vampy as her reputation; here he piles on examples of the danger and misunderstanding that comes from sex. The woman in the red dress in Weed (whose pretty dress "provokes" Lennie into action) clearly resembles Curley's garishly attired wife. And George tells of another man, Andy Cushman, who landed in the San Quention penitentiary after succumbing to "a tart" (62). Women equal danger in Steinbeck's masculine dramatic world. The only good women, George suggests (61), are those whose sexual motives one knows - either because they are totally desexualized, like Lennie's Aunt Clara, or completely sexualized, like the whores at Susy's and Clara's. Indeed, Steinbeck's double use of the name "Clara" (which means "clear," suggesting that the social and sexual roles of these two women are transparent) links the one model...
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