Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Two men emerged and entered the green pool. They carried blanket rolls. They stopped by the pool and started drinking. Lennie Small was the bigger guy. George Milton was the smaller sized guy. They debated whether the water was clean but still drank it. It turns out that they were heading to a ranch 4 miles from where they were. Lennie forgot where they were going. Lennie had a lousy memory. He recalled, with George’s help, about going into Murray and Ready’s and work cards and bus tickets. Lennie didn’t seem like a very intelligent man. George demanded that Lennie reveal the dead mouse in his pocket. He flung it into the pool. Lennie said he wanted to pet it while they walked. Their plan was to work in a ranch. George feared when Lennie spoke as he might say something stupid to offend others. Lennie did something stupid when they were in Weed. George ordered him to get wood for a fire to be built at night. Once again, Lennie found a mouse and George demanded that he reveal it. The problem was that all the mice were dead when caught by him. In the past, Aunt Clara gave Lennie mice but very often, he wasn’t careful with them and accidentally killed them. Lennie started eating beans after heating them up under the flame. George vented his frustrations at having to take care of Lennie.

And what I got, I got you! You can’t keep a job and you lose me every job I get. Just keep me shoving all over the country all the time. And that ain’t the worst. You get in trouble. You do things and I got to get you out. – George to Lennie

Lennie said he didn’t mind venturing on his own and try to catch mice. George begged him to stay with him now. Lennie wanted to know about the rabbits. Guys like them who work in a ranch got nothing in life to look forward to. Deep down, they liked each other. They conversed about having a dream farm that reared rabbits. George promised Lennie rabbits if he didn’t make a fool of himself in front of the ranch owner.

They arrived at the BUNKHOUSE. An old man answered the door. He showed them to their accommodation. He also gave them a yellow tin that contained chemicals to kill pests. They were all satisfied with their beds and was still expecting the boss. The old man revealed that the boss didn’t treat niggers well. The nigger was a smart man who read a lot. Soon after, the boss showed up. He questioned them on why they were late for work. George explained that Lennie was a capable man even though he didn’t talk much. The boss was suspicious of how George was defending Lennie. It turns out that Lennie was George’s cousin (This was a lie). George was upset at Lennie when he said a few words. The swamper had an old dog by his side. At that moment, a man with a brown face came in. He was Curley. Curley was the boss’ son and he didn’t like Lennie from the start as he didn’t answer his questions. Curley was a handy guy who never gave anyone a chance. He was a guy who didn’t give a damn for anything. He was a dirty little man. His wife was a trashy woman too. Curley was a guy who always wins. George gave Lennie some advice. A girl walked in and started talking to the two of them. It was Curley’s wife. Now, Lennie had bad feelings of this place and wanted to leave. Slim was the jerkline skinner who commanded a great deal of authority. Slim started chatting with the two of them. Another man named Carlson entered and introduced himself. There was a burst of voices outside. Then suddenly, Curley entered the room. George and Lennie both hated Curley.

George realized that he might expect some difficulty in not letting Lennie play with the pups. Lennie was a strong man who worked damn hard. Slim found it odd that two guys would travel together and work. Lennie was slow and dumb but quick to follow instructions. However, sometimes he got in trouble because of how dumb he was. Once in Weed, Lennie kept holding on a girl’s red dress and didn’t let go. The whole town thought that he raped her and both of them had to flee the town. Lennie had the weird habit of grabbing on to things and patting them. However, Lennie wasn’t a mean guy. He brought a pup in and George ordered him to reveal it. He was like a kid who didn’t mean any harm. Carlson wanted Candy to get rid of his dog. Carlson suggested that Candy shoot the dog as it was of no use. Candy was compassionate and sentimental over the dog.

Carl’s right, Candy. That dog ain’t no good to himself. I wisht somebody’d shoot me if I got old an’ a cripple. – Slim

Candy picked up a magazine. Whit was another man in the room. It turns out that Bill Tenner wrote a successful magazine and was an ex-worker in the ranch. Carlson kept insisting on wanting to kill the old dog. Candy kept staring at the ceiling while the others watched Carlson shoot the dog. Most of the previous workers usually quit after a while of work. Lennie and George were planning to stick around for a while. Crooks was the Negro guy. Lennie was outside messing around with the pups. Everyone started talking about Curley’s wife and how out of place she was in the ranch. Whit wanted to visit Old Susy’s house where they could make out with girls. Clara, another lady, also offered similar services but at more expensive rates. Curley was still looking his wife. Now, Curley was furious that Slim was missing and sought after him. George started describing a place that he and Lennie were planning to buy. It was their dream to live on their own and not work for others. Candy lost one of his hands on the ranch and got assigned to job swamping instead. He wanted to team with George and Lennie to buy the new house. They were optimistic that their idea might come to reality. The rest of the men entered the room and the three of them vowed not to tell anyone of their plan. Slim, Curley, Carlson and Whit all came in. Curley spotted Lennie laughing and picked on him. Curley slashed him on his nose and stomach. Blood trickled out from it. Lennie didn’t defend himself. Now, George shouted ‘Get him!’ Lennie held on to Curley’s fist and didn’t let go. George begged him to let go of his fist. Some bones in his Curley’s fist were broken. Lennie cried and said he didn’t meant to hurt Curley. Curley promised not to tell others what happened. Carlson would take him to a doctor. Lennie didn’t mean no harm.

Crooks’ bunk was in the harness room. Suddenly Lennie entered his room and Crook was pissed for his intrusions. Crooks, a black man, had to have a different room because he wasn’t welcome in the bunkroom.

Cause I’m black. They play cards in there, but I can’t play because I’m black. They say I stink Well, I tell you, all of you stink to me. – Crooks

Lennie said he came to see the pup. Suddenly, Lennie revealed his plan of buying his own place to Crooks. In Soledad, there was only 1 black family and it was hard for Crook to be around people of his same colour. Crooks challenged Lennie on what he would do if George never came back. Lennie didn’t know how to answer. Lennie was defensive and didn’t want anyone talking about hurting George. Crooks understood the importance of companionship and he said that sometimes, it didn’t matter whether you were close to that someone else. But his presence will ‘cause you to remain sane. Crooks felt lonely in his room.

Books ain’t no good. A guy needs somebody – to be near him. 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. I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick. – Crooks

A guy sets alone out here at night, maybe readin’ books or think’ or stuff like that. Sometimes he gets thinkin, an’ he got nothing to tell him what’s so an’ what ain’t so. Maybe if he sees somethin’, he don’t know whether it’s right or not. He can’t turn to some other guy and ask him if he sees it too. He can’t tell. He got nothing to measure by. – Crooks

Every’body wants a little piece of lan’. I read plenty of books out here. Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land. It’s just in their head. They’re all the time talkin’ about it, but it’s jus’ in their head. – Crooks

Candy could be heard outside. Candy came in to join the conversation. It was the first time Candy visited Crooks’ room after so long. Crooks was pessimistic that their plan would work. Many before them have failed.

An’ where’s George now? In town in a whore house. That’s where your money’s goin’. Jesus, I seen it happen too many times. I seen too many guys with land in their heads. They never get none under their hand. – Crooks

To Crooks, most men squandered their money on the whore house or gambling. Suddenly, Curley’s wife appeared. She also felt lonely and wanted to talk to them. The truth was that she didn’t like Curley one bit as he was extremely mean and arrogant. Candy was pissed and wanted her out of the house immediately. Crooks wanted her out of the room as she kept probing about Lennie’s injuries and how he got them. ‘Listen nigger, you know what I can do to you if you open your trap?’ Curley’s wife. Now, Crooks simply shut up. Nobody listened to Candy and Crooks. Crooks thought it would be better if the two of them left his room. Crooks knew he could do nothing about the situation as he didn’t have any power. Finally, Lennie and Candy left when George came back.

The horse nibbled at the hay in the barn. Lennie was inside and he stroked a dead puppy. He later covered the puppy with hay. Lennie was upset that the puppy died. Curley’s wife spotted him. She demanded to see what he was carrying. Under George’s instructions, Lennie wasn’t supposed to speak to her.

I get lonely. You can talk to people, but I can’t talk to nobody but Curley. Else he gets mad. How’d you like not to talk to anybody? – Curley’s wife

George was afraid that she would get everyone into a mess. Curley’s wife admitted she didn’t like Curley. She dreamt of being a Hollywood actress. Her dreams were crushed when the guy said she wasn’t a natural when she was much younger. She invited Lennie to stroke her hair and that’s what he did. Suddenly Lennie wouldn’t let go. She started panicking. Curley’s wife started screaming and then she suddenly stopped. Lennie had broken her neck. ‘I don’t want to hurt you, but George’ll be mad if you yell.’ Lennie. He was conscious that he had something bad. Her body was only half-covered with hay when Lennie left. Candy approached Lennie when he found Curley’s wife’s body. George soon realized that she was dead. George suggested that Lennie be locked up. However, Candy wanted Lennie to run free. Their initial plan would be to hide Lennie and continue to work to earn money.

Lennie never done it in meanness. All the time he done bad things, but he never done one of them mean. – George

Now, they were planning to tell everybody that they found Lennie’s wife in that state. Carlson and Curley wanted to shoot Lennie and kill him. Lennie apparently stole Carlson’s Luger before he left. Everyone was looking for him now. Curley was mad with rage and desperately want to take revenge. Candy would stay behind and not follow.

Lennie was hiding in the brush and waited for George. He drank water from the pool. He wanted to find a cave if George wouldn’t come. There was a little fat old woman who appeared. It was Aunt Clara. It was all a dream. George always treated Lennie extremely well. She lamented that Lennie didn’t listen to George properly and got into trouble. A rabbit started speaking to and mocking Lennie. He was engaged in monologue with the rabbit. The rabbit scorned at Lennie and said he wasn’t capable of taking care of rabbits. The rabbit said that George would beat him and then leave him alone. Suddenly, the real George appeared. George still wanted to take care of Lennie and didn’t want him to go away on his own.

Guys like us got no family. They make a little stake an’ then they blow it in. They ain’t got nobody in the worl’ that gives a hoot in hell about ‘em…But not us, because I got you an’ you’ve got me. We got each other, that’s what, that gives a hoot in hell about us. – Lennie

There were instances of men shouting in the distance. George described their future while Lennie looked at the river. Slowly, George pulled out Carlson’s Luger. He raised the gun but dropped it to the ground again. They talked about rabbits and their future house with happiness and hope. Men were slowly closing in on them. George raised his hand and fired a shot at Lennie’s head. Lennie collapsed and didn’t move one bit. Slim said that George had to do what he had to do. ‘A guy got to sometimes.’



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