For both answers, find evidence from the text to support your own interpretations from Of Mice and Men.
1. Read this quote and decide why they stay in the clearing overnight before going to the ranch; there is a straightforward reason, but also a more revealing one too.
“George—why ain’t we goin’ on to the ranch and get some supper? They got supper at the ranch.”
George rolled on his side. “No reason at all for you. I like it here. Tomorra we’re gonna go to work. I seen thrashin’ machines on the way down. That means we’ll be buckin’ grain bags, bustin’ a gut. Tonight I’m gonna lay right here and look up. I like it.”
2. Comment on George’s feelings and emotions during this speech. Do you really think George wants to live this way – like the other ranch hands?
"God a’mighty, if I was alone I could live so easy. I could go get a job an’ work, an’ no trouble. No mess at all, and when the end of the month come, I could take my fifty bucks and go into town and get whatever I want. Why, I could stay in a cat house all night. I could eat any place I want, hotel or any place, and order any damn thing I could think of. An’ I could do all that every damn month. Get a gallon of whisky, or set in a pool room and play cards or shoot pool.” Lennie knelt and looked over the fire at the angry George. And Lennie’s face was drawn with terror.
“An’ whatta I got,” George went on furiously. “I got you! You can’t keep a job and you lose me ever’ job I get. Jus’ keep me shovin’ all over the country all the time. An’ that ain’t the worst. You get in trouble. You do bad things and I got to get you out.”
1 Answer | Add Yours
1. There are probably two feelings at work within George. First, there is the emotional one as he has accompanied Lennie on a desperate run for Lennie's life as they have fled Weed that is a great distance from the Salinas Valley. Secondly, because he is probably exhausted from the travel and stress, he wants to relax before starting what promises to be very strenuous work. His words reflect this reluctant anticipation:
"I seen thrashin’ machines on the way down. That means we’ll be buckin’ grain bags, bustin’ a gut."
Further, when they arrive at the ranch, the boss chides them for being late--"I had to send out the grain teams short two buckers"--and tells them they will have to go out after lunch when they can ride back with the others. So, George is glad that they only must work half a day at first, and his and Lennie's tardiness in reporting to work has paid off for them.
2. This speech from George is much like those of exasperated parents. They are frustrated with their loved one and say things that, while true in a practical sense, they do not really mean. George knows that although he would be free of the anxieties of being associated with Lennie, he would be lonely on his own. For one thing, the recitation of the dream that Lennie so loves to hear affords George an escape from their homelessness and alienation.
Also, when George talks with Slim (Chapter 2), who remarks, "Ain't many guys travel around together," George quickly responds by saying, "It's a lot nicer to go around with a guy you know." Clearly, this response indicates that George really cares for Lennie.
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