In Of Mice and Men, how does the first chapter prepare the reader for the notion that 'the best laid schemes of mice and men gang aft a-gley?Basically the quote is from the peom 'To a mouse, on...

In Of Mice and Men, how does the first chapter prepare the reader for the notion that 'the best laid schemes of mice and men gang aft a-gley?

Basically the quote is from the peom 'To a mouse, on turning up her nest with a plough' by robert burns. 

So what the question is asking is to write about how chapter 1 creates a sense of foreboding.

Expert Answers
ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are actually three events that exemplify the line in Browning's poem. The first event the reader discovers is that Lennie and George are walking on a very hot day to a new job and Murry and Ready's. They had been taking the bus, but the bus driver intentionally let them off before he got to the ranch. As George says,

"We could just as well of rode clear to the ranch if that bastard bus driver knew what he was talkin' about. God damn near four miles, that's what it was. Didn't wanta stop at the ranch gate... "

So, George and Lennie's plan of arriving at the ranch by dinnertime has "gone a-gley". They are forced to spend the night outside by a stream and walk the rest of the way the next morning. This will make them late for their first day of work and irritate the boss. The second thing we learn is that Lennie did "some bad things in Weed". For some reason they were run out of town. The final thing we learn is that Lennie is carrying a dead mouse in his pocket. It was alive when he found it. He says that he had pet the mouse but the mouse "bit my fingers and I pinched [his] head a little and then [he] was dead." So there is something that has "gone a-gley" for Lennie and we expect this behavior will continue.

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Of Mice and Men

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