In Of Mice and Men, identify a quotation where Lennie is hiding the dead mouse in his pocket.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The location for quotes regarding Lennie hiding the dead mouse in his pocket can be seen in Chapter 1 of the Steinbeck work.  One of the first exchanges that the reader notices between George and Lennie is regarding the dead mouse that Lennie hides in his pocket:

"I know there ain't.  You got it in your hand.  What you got in your hand- hidin' it?"  

"I ain't got nothin', George.  Honest."  

"Come on', give it here."  Lennie held his closed hand away from George's direction.  

"It's on'y a mous, George."  

"A mouse?  A live mouse?"  

"Uh- uh.  Jus' a dead mouse, George.  I didn't kill it. Honest!  I found it  I found it dead."

This is one instant where Lennie is hiding the dead mouse in his pocket. Lennie's love for animals and for "soft things" extends towards even those things that are dead.  His child-like qualities are revealed when it comes to the mouse and wanting to own "things" on his own.  While George is concerned with material reality, Lennie's concerns extends to the realm of animals and being able to tend to them, as seen in how he wants to pet the dead mouse in his pocket.

Another quote in which Lennie is hiding the dead mouse in his pocket can be seen later on in chapter one.  George has sent Lennie on the task of finding firewood in order to cook dinner and build a fire for their rest before they go off the next day to find work.  When Lennie returns, it is evident that he has the mouse and George confronts him on it.  Lennie pleads to keep the mouse:  “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.”  For Lennie, the dead mouse should belong to him because "it ain't nobody's."  Lennie only sees the ability to care for something on his own.  Perhaps, it's almost a desire for something else to see him in the same paternal way he comes to see George.  It is in this regard where Lennie is hiding the dead mouse in his pocket and reflective of how he wants to keep it, while George instructs him not to do so.

William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The scene in which George and Lennie are arguing over the dead mouse has ominous overtones. Lennie is displaying resistance and rebellion. This may be something new. Heretofore he may have been obedient, like a young child; but now he is becoming rebellious, like an adolescent. He is discovering that he has a will of his own and that he can say no. Towards the end of the argument:

Lennie hesitated, backed away, looked wildly at the brush line as though he contemplated running for his freedom.

George is finding it more and more difficult to keep Lennie under his control. He says:

"You gonna give me that mouse or do I have to sock you?"

One of these days George is going to sock Lennie and Lennie is going to sock him back. Lennie is a giant and George is a "little guy." Lennie might end up killing George just as he kills all the little animals he acquires as pets. George is beginning to sense that his relationship with Lennie cannot continue. Lennie is becoming dangerous. George had to "sock" Lennie with a fence picket to make him let go of that girl's dress in Weed. Lennie lies to George consistently, and George only knows what Lennie told him about that episode, which was that he only wanted to feel the girl's dress. That was bad enough, but later George will realize that Lennie was actually attracted to the girl herself, whether or not he realized what he was doing. The dead body of Curley's wife in the barn is further evidence that Lennie's libido is switching from soft little animals to soft young girls. What might have happened with the girl in Weed if George hadn't heard her screams and forced Lennie to let go of her dress?

I believe the most pertinent quote in this context is:

"You gonna give me that mouse or do I have to sock you?"

Read the study guide:
Of Mice and Men

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