Of Mice and Men


Section One, Two, and Three

Section 1

This section spans from the start of the novella to the point at nightfall when Lennie is instructed by George with regard to how the two will prepare to arrive at the ranch.

In terms of summary, the beginning of the story paints a beautiful description of rural California, including a riverbed among wooded areas that are situated at the foot of hills described as “golden foothill slopes.” The two men walk along a path that runs down to the river that is frequented by swimming youths and transients. The two men are dressed in denim clothes designed for farm hands, and they walk in single file, large and lumbering Lennie following small and wiry George.

Lennie stops to drink some water from a pool as the two men reach a clearing. George disapproves of this, and he warns Lennie not to drink the water for fear of illness. Through conversation between the two men, it becomes apparent that Lennie has a mental handicap and that George often acts as a protector for him. George vocalizes his annoyance with the bus driver who dropped the two men off several miles from the ranch they were heading to for work. As George is complaining, Lennie interrupts to ask where they are heading, to which George replies in an annoyed tone and reminds Lennie of their voyage over the last few days. It is at this point that George notices that Lennie is holding a dead mouse, and George promptly grabs the mouse from Lennie. Lennie says that he just wanted to pet the mouse and that he did not kill it, but George knows that this is not the truth, and out of anger, he throws the mouse across the stream. Lennie is warned by George to be on his best behavior at the new ranch they are going to work at, as George does not want to repeat the trouble they experienced due to Lennie’s behavior at their last job in Weed.

After some thought, George makes the decision to camp overnight in the clearing, and the two men prepare some canned beans for supper. Lennie gets out of George’s sight and crosses the stream to retrieve the dead...

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