Are there any descriptions that suggest disturbance in Chapter 4 of Of Mice and Men?

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As in the opening of his novella, John Steinbeck employs sensory imagery and that of nature as a suggestive tool. For instance, as Chapter 4 opens, the "four-taloned Jackson fork hangs suspended at one end of the barn, and the horses stamp their feet and bite the wood of the feeding bins in an exhibition of nervousness and boredom.

Outside there is the cacophony of clanging horseshoes and men shouting, "playing, encouraging, jeering." Inside, Lennie sits in the hay and his anger flares as he looks at his dead puppy, "Why do you got to get killed? You ain't so little as mice."

Then, Curley's wife appears with her face "made up," suggesting her role as temptress. She also causes uneasiness in Lennie when she asks him what really has happened to Curley. When Lennie tells her that George has told him not to speak to her, she becomes angry, "What's the matter with me?....Ain't I got a right to talk to nobody?"

This encounter between Lennie and Curley's wife certainly hints at disturbance because, as George has called her, Curley's wife is "jail-bait." Nevertheless, the naive Lennie moves closer to her; when she offers to let him pet her hair, Lennie causes her to panic as she senses his might. She asks him to stop, but Lennie holds on; consequently, she panics and "her eyes were wild with terror." Accidentally, Lennie breaks her neck.

Of course, at this point in the narrative, there is great disturbance. Realizing he has "done a bad thing,"Lennie tries to cover with hay Curley's wife as he has covered the dead puppy. When the mother dog enters the barn to nurse her pups, she senses this death and whimpers. Indicating the culmination of disturbance, Steinbeck writes,

As happens sometimes, a moment settled and hovered and remained for much more than a moment. And sound stopped and movement stopped for much, much more than a moment.

Then "gradually time awakened again and moved sluggishly on" as the results of the actions commence.

rr-19 | Student

I'm not sure this is right but Lennie disturbs Crooks when he eneters as Crooks wasn't expecting any company because he's always left alone.