Essential Passages by Character: Lennie Small
Essential Passage 1: Chapter 1
Lennie hesitated, backed away, looked wildly at the brush line as though he contemplated running for his freedom. George said coldly, “You gonna give me that mouse or do I have to sock you?”
“Give you what, George?”
“You know God damn well what. I want that mouse.”
Lennie reluctantly reached into his pocket. His voice broke a little. “I don’t know why I can’t keep it. It ain’t nobody’s mouse. I didn’t steal it. I found it lyin’ right beside the road.”
George’s hand remained outstretched imperiously. Slowly, like a terrier who doesn’t want to bring a ball to its master, Lennie approached, drew back, approached again. George snapped his fingers sharply, and at the sound Lennie laid the mouse in his hand.
George and Lennie have stopped for the night at a shady spot beside a river, traveling on their way to a job on a nearby ranch. Having been let off four miles from the ranch by a bus driver who did not want to take the trouble to take two migrant workers that far out of his way, George and Lennie find a place to rest. Lennie, fascinated by soft things, has found a dead mouse beside the road. He is hiding it in his pocket, knowing that George will make him throw it away. Lennie often had mice as pets as a child, given to him by his Aunt Clara, but he always killed them by petting them too hard. Now under George’s protection, Lennie follows him closely, with dog-like devotion. And it is in this way that George occasionally treats him.
Essential Passage 2: Chapter 2
Lennie cried out suddenly—“I don’t like this place, George. This ain’t no good place. I wanna get outta here.”
“We gotta keep it till we get a stake. We can’t help it, Lennie. We’ll get out jus’ as soon as we can. I don’t like it no better than you do.” He went back to the table and set out a new solitaire hand. “No, I don’t like it,” he said. “For two bits I’d shove out of here. If we can get jus’ a few dollars I the poke we’ll shove off and go up the American River and pan gold. We can make maybe a couple of dollars a day there, and we might hit a pocket.”
Lennie leaned eagerly toward him. “Le’s go, George. Le’s get...
(The entire section is 1417 words.)
Essential Passages by Theme: Friendship
Essential Passage 1: Chapter 1
George went on. “With us it ain’t like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. We don’t have to sit in no bar room blown’ in our jack jus’ because we got no place else to go. If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody give a damn. But not us.”
Lennie broke in. “But not us! An’ why? Because…because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s why.” He laughed delightedly. “Go on now, George!”
“You got it by heart. You can do it yourself.”
“No, you. I forget some a’ the things. Tell about how it’s gonna be.”
“O.K. Someday—we’re gonna get the jack together and we’re gonna have a little house and a couple of acres an’ a cow and some pigs and—.”
“An’ live off the fatta the lan’,” Lennie shouted. “An’ have rabbits. Go on, George! Tell about what we’re gonna have in the garden and about the rabbits in the cages and about the rain in the winter and the stove, and how thick the cream is on the milk like you can hardly cut it. Tell about that, George.”
As they camp beside the river, George and Lennie plan their next move as they take on a new job, hoping to make some money. Their dream is to buy a small place that George knows off, owned by an elderly couple the wife of whom needs an operation. For a small price George and Lennie can become home owners, the goal of every true-blooded American, so the idea goes. Their plan is to have a small, self-sufficient farm, where they can be free and independent. More than anything, Lennie is looking forward to the rabbits, which George has promised him that he could take care of. It is scene that has been rehearsed so many times that Lennie can repeat George’s words by heart. But a dream always bears repeating. However, more than the dream, they have each other, Lennie and George forever. While other drifters and migrant workers may be solitary, these two have each other for support, protection, and guidance.
Essential Passage 2: Chapter 4
Crooks said gently, “Maybe you can see now. You got George. You know he’s goin’ to come back. S’pose you...
(The entire section is 1646 words.)