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Can you please help me interpret the meaning of the following quotations taken from the...

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tommy7 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 20, 2009 at 1:33 PM via web

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Can you please help me interpret the meaning of the following quotations taken from the novel "Mice of Men"?


I been mean, ain’t I?
Know what he done Christmas?
I seen her give Slim the eye.
I done a bad thing

God a’mighty …
S’pose he don’t want to talk?
…las’ Sat’day night.
It’s on’y about four o’clock.

Well, we ain’t got no ketchup.
They don’t belong no place.
It wasn’t nothing.

Says we was here when we wasn’t.
…so I comes running…
Me an’ him goes ever’ place together.
You wasn’t big enough.


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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 20, 2009 at 8:52 PM (Answer #1)

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These quotations reflect much of the authenticity of the characters in the novel through both dialect and meaning.  We gain much insight into Steinbeck's development of these characters through their words and ideas.  For example, we see that George acknowledge the mistakes he has made in the past, in regard to his relationship with Lennie.  He is the first to admit that he had been guilty of deliberate cruelty, and has undergone some dynamic change to acknowledge it and atone for it.  Such an idea shows his very fluid nature as a character, as one that expands his scope of moral understanding to comprehend his relationship with Lennie.  While he admits his acts of cruelty and malevolence, he is also cognizant of his role in protecting Lennie and seeing that the two of them remain as a unit.  In a world where there is so little upon which to place one's faith and happiness, devoid of both spiritual and material fortifications and replenishment, a world where thee is "no ketchup," George and Lennie have one another and George understands this importance.  His hopeful vision is constantly challenged by the social reality of the time, and the quotations reflect this destitution and George's dreams to try to offset them.  In the end, his hopes of some type of unity and harmony are dashed as he, himself, has to accept that his dreams are not to be materialized in such a setting.

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