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What does this quote mean from Of Mice and Men? "His glance was at once calculating and...

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brandih | eNotes Employee

Posted May 16, 2013 at 7:02 PM via web

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What does this quote mean from Of Mice and Men? "His glance was at once calculating and pugnacious." 

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 16, 2013 at 7:16 PM (Answer #1)

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This quote demonstrates that Curley is interested in picking a fight with Lennie because he is a big guy, and Curley feels threatened by him.

Curley comes looking for his father, the boss of the ranch, and sees George and Lennie for the first time.  Lennie is so huge that he makes an impression right away.  Curley’s reaction is not friendly.

He glanced coldly at George and then at Lennie.  His arms gradually bent at the elbows and his hands closed into fists. He stiffened and went into a slight crouch. (ch 2)

He is sizing them up.  Curley is basically going into fighting mode.  The word “pugnacious” means aggressive or confrontational.  George describes Curley this way because he has seen guys like him before.  He knows that Curley is a small-minded man that is going to make trouble for them if they are not careful.

In fact, Curley does make trouble for George and Lennie—a lot of it.  Lennie gets into a fight where he crushes his hand, and Lennie accidentally kills his wife, so George has to shoot him.  This quote seems to foreshadow that Curley is the beginning of the end for George and Lennie.

 

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