Of Mice and Men Questions and Answers
by John Steinbeck

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In Chapter 1, what does George tell Lennie to do if he gets in trouble at their new job site in Of Mice and Men? Their friendship relationship

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Before George and Lennie travel to their new jobs on the ranch, George tells Lennie that if he happens to get into trouble, he must remember to travel back to the riverbed and hide in the brush. George repeats his directions by telling Lennie,

"Hide in the brush till I come for you" (50)

Lennie then repeats George's directions and assures him that he won't forget. The riverbed where the two men initially camp out before walking to the ranch is a considerable distance from the farm and is a useful hiding spot later on in the story. Towards the end of the novella, Lennie accidentally kills Curley's wife by snapping her neck. Fortunately, Lennie remembers to run back to the riverbed and wait for George. While Curley and the rest of the workers form a lynch mob to capture and kill Lennie, George travels to the riverbed and meets up with his friend. When George hears the lynch mob closing in on them, he makes the difficult decision to shoot Lennie in the back of the head. 

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George tells Lennie to come and hide in the bushes near where they are camping in Chapter 1. He will come and find Lennie there and tell him what to do next.

"Look, Lennie--if you jus' happen to get in trouble like you always done  before, I want you to come right here and hide in the brush."

"Hide in the brush," said Lennie slowly.

"Hide in the  brush till I come for you. Can you remember that?"

That is exactly what Lennie remembers being told and what he does after he accidentally kills Curley's wife in the barn. George understands what happened and knows where to find Lennie, so he is able to get to him before any of the other men do. They would be sure to locate him because there are so many of them and they have a dog.

The novel was made into a successful New York stage play in 1937, the same year it was published. It seems that Steinbeck was deliberately structuring the novel with the play in mind, because there are very few "sets," and these sets, especially the bunkhouse, are very simple and constantly reused. One of the simple sets would be the campsite in the opening chapter. The story and play both begin there and end there. For a stage play the setting would only require some trees and brush painted on a backdrop and an electrically lighted "campfire" in the foreground.

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