Please interpret and provide quotes (including pg. #) from Of Mice and Men which deal with the following topics:a) hope (dreams)b) social responsibility (helping someone)c) innocencee) discrimination

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mstultz72's profile pic

mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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It looks like you have all the quotes you need, so I'll provide some interpretations...

In Of Mice and Men, hopes and dreams are connected to innocence in the first chapters, mainly by George and Lennie before they get to the ranch.  All of these are destroyed by discrimination and a lack of social responsibility in the last chapters.  Therefore, the ranch is a place of tragedy instead of dreams because it is set up in an unfair, undemocratic, and male-dominated hierarchy.

Here are the innocent hopers and dreamers: George & Lennie (a pair), and then Candy (to make a trio).

Here are the victims of discrimination and a lack of social responsibility: Lennie (victim of Curley's violence and revenge), Candy (his dog shot); Crooks (isolated in the barn); Curley's wife (no dreams or status, a pet for men).

Here are the victimizers, who refuse to hope, dream, or help: Curley, Carlson, the Boss.

Caught in the middle of all this is Slim, the working-class hero.

So, here's how the novella ends in tragedy: Steinbeck believes that the American dream is only a dream for the low-class and disenfranchised (the mentally-challenged, the old, blacks, and women).  Only males (Curley) with family status can achieve success, but even they are violent, greedy, and paranoid about the competition.

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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In the novel "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck. Lennie can not really be anything other than innocent as he has learning difficulties and relies on others (mainly George) to interpret the world for him.

In his innocence, Lennie knows enough to know that he depends on George and that he will look out for him. He keeps asking George to tell him about their future ranch life. But there are strings. Lennie has to go where he's told as George is the one who knows waht's best for them both. He has to take instructions from George on topics like how much water to drink, what to say to bosses, where to hide when in trouble. Lennie goes with all this innocently as mostly, george is right. However, he is also so innocent that he walks straight into his own death, leaving George to decide whether he is better off dead or alive.

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Since there are differing publications of John Steinbeck's novella Of Mice and Men, providing a page number may not be of any assistance.  So, the section/chapter will be noted.

The dream of George and Lennie, Crooks the stabler, declares is that of all the men:  "Seems like ever'guy got land in his head."  Even Curley's wife expresses her hope of which she has now despaired:

'Whatta ya think I am, a kid?  I tell ya I could of went with shows.  Not jus'one, niether.  An' a guy tol' me he could put me in pitchers...' [Section 4]

Of course, the main dream is that of George and Lennie who hope to have a ranch someday with rabbits and corn and cows and pigs, so they can "eat off th' fatta th' land." In the very first section, George recites the dream for Lennie, who delights in hearing it:

'Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world.  They got no family.....They ain't got nothing to look forward to...With us it ain't like that.  We got a future.  We got somebody to talk to.  [Section 1]

Lennie, then, expresses how they help each other:

'But not us!  An' why?  Because...becuse I go you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that's why.'   [Section 1 ]

In this first section, also, George tells Lennie to hide in the bushes where they camp if he gets into trouble in the future and he will come for Lennie:

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

The innocence and child-like nature of Lennie is also conveyed as he tries to hide the mouse he has killed in his pocket and when he wants to pet the pretty blond hair of Curley's wife:

Lennie's big fingers fell to stroking her hair....'O, that's nice!' and he stroked harder....She jerked her head sideways and Lennie's fingers closd on her hair and hung on. [Section 5]

Among the men there is discrimination.  Curley wears boots with heels "to show that he is not one of the working men."  Carlson is cruel to old Candy and shoots his decrepit dog because he can while he would like to do the same to Candy.  The racial discrimination of Crooks is glaringly apparent as he is relegated to living in the barn with the mules, not in the bunkhouse.  He explains to Lennie why he is not wanted in the bunkhouse,

'Causee I'm black.  They play cards in there, but I can't play because I'm black.  They say I stink.  Well, I tell you, you all of you stink to me.'  [Section 4]

 

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