In Of Mice and Men, what quotes support that the boss of the ranch shows power over George and Lennie?

In Of Mice and Men, a quotation that shows the boss's power over George and Lennie is as follows:

"I wrote Murray and Ready I wanted two men this morning. You got your work slips?" George reached into his pocket and produced the slips and handed them to the boss. "It wasn’t Murray, and Ready’s fault. Says right here on the slip that you was to be here for work this morning."

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In chapter 2 of the novella, George and Lennie introduce themselves to the boss of the ranch, who expresses his authority by asking probing questions, warning both men, and giving them direct orders. Before meeting the boss, George instructs Lennie to remain quiet and let him answer all the questions. George understands that Lennie's mental disability is obvious whenever he speaks and does not want the boss to fire them the moment hears Lennie talk.

Unfortunately, Lennie cannot help himself and repeats George's comment when he praises him for being "strong as a bull." Once Lennie speaks, the boss recognizes that something is not quite right and demonstrates his authority by challenging both men. The boss does not want to take any chances on hiring deceptive connivers and instantly stands up to George.

The boss suspects that George is taking advantage of Lennie and proceeds to question his intentions. George quickly defends himself by claiming that Lennie is his cousin, and the boss contemplates the situation. The boss then tells George and Lennie,

But don’t try to put nothing over, ‘cause you can’t get away with nothing. I seen wise guys before. Go on out with the grain teams after dinner. They’re pickin’ up barley at the threshing machine. Go out with Slim’s team.

The boss shows his authority by issuing a warning to George and Lennie. They understand he has the power to let them go, and his warning makes it clear that he is willing to fire them at any moment. His next comment reveals his experience, which shows the men that he is shrewd and clever enough to recognize a scam when he sees one. The last lines of the quote are specific directives. As boss of the ranch, he has the power to give orders and instructs George and Lennie to go "out with the grain teams after dinner."

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During his brief meeting with Lennie and George, the ranch-owner immediately assumes a businesslike approach. It is clear from the start that he is not there to make small talk, but to assert his authority and make it quite clear to his two new would-be employees that he will not tolerate any nonsense and that he will not be misled. This is evident when the boss tells George that he should not attempt to deceive him by saying, “But don’t you try to put nothing over, Milton. I got my eye on you.” This warning immediately establishes the fact that he will be scrutinizing the two men and that they risk losing their jobs should they try to mislead him.

The boss's language is quite abrupt and commanding, almost aggressive—clearly conveying the fact that he is the authority on the ranch. His questions are forthright, and he apparently has no other desire but to determine the facts and confirm his position as one of authority and superiority. George’s prompt and somewhat anxious responses to his questions further emphasis that the boss holds the power in this interaction.

The quote that most suitably confirms this fact is when the boss instructs the two men:

All right. But don’t try to put nothing over, ’cause you can’t get away with nothing. I seen wise guys before. Go on out with the grain teams after dinner. They’re pickin’ up barley at the threshing machine. Go out with Slim’s team.

In this instance, his commands are curt and clear—he is not asking the two men to perform their tasks, but dictating their duties to them. His demeanor and tone most assuredly displays the fact that his authority cannot, and will not, be questioned.

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The above quotation shows quite clearly the power that the boss has over George and Lennie. He is the one who will determine whether or not they get to work on the ranch. If he decides to give them work, fine. But if not, then he won't, and George and Lennie will have no choice but to hit the road and find work someplace else.

According to the relevant rules and regulations, the boss is well within his rights to refuse to give George and Lennie any work. As an agricultural employer, he has the whip-hand over anyone seeking employment. This puts him in a very powerful position indeed. If he feels like it, he can show George and Lennie the door without giving them a reason.

As it is, the two men are late, and so the boss has a valid reason for giving them their marching orders. But he chooses not to let them go. Even so, he makes it perfectly clear that he's the guy in charge and won't take any nonsense from them:

But don't try to put nothing over, 'cause you can't get away with nothing.

The boss has spoken. He's laid down the law and made it perfectly clear that George and Lennie will be in trouble if either of them steps out of line.

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The boss takes a hostile, domineering attitude towards George from the moment they first meet. He asks a lot of questions, but his main purpose seems to be ti assert the fact that he is the boss. Part of the interview goes as follows:

"Why'd you quit in Weed?"

"Job was done," said George promptly.

"What kinda job?"

"We . . . we was diggin' a cesspool."

"All right. But don't try to put nothing over, 'cause you can't get away with nothing. I seen wise guys before. Go on out with the grain teams after dinner. They're pickin' up barley at the threshing machine. Go out with Slim's team."

The boss only appears in one scene. This is in Chapter 2 when George and Lennie first arrive. Steinbeck apparently didn't want to develop him as a character, probably because he wanted to focus on the employees. Curley, as the boss's son, is a sufficient representative of authority. He seems to be trying to imitate his father's bullying manner, but he can't quite carry it off because most of the men do not respect him.

The fact that George answers "promptly" when the boss asks why they quit in Weed shows that George was expecting that question and had the answer rehearsed. George is sensitive about the real reason for their leaving Weed and wants to dismiss the subject as quickly as possible.

The "dinner" the boss is referring to has to be the noon meal, since Steinbeck indicates that it is ten in the morning when they arrive at the ranch. It was customary for farmers to eat the biggest meal at around noon in order to fortify themselves with calories for a hard afternoon's work. Nowadays many people consider "dinner" to be the evening meal. The word "supper" is disappearing from common usage. It used to mean a light evening meal.

One of the reasons that Steinbeck chose to place the Weed incident so far away from the Salinas Valley would appear to be that it would make it impossible for the boss to do any checking up on George and Lennie. No doubt Lennie's transgression with the girl in Weed is known all over Siskiyou County by this time.

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