What are some examples of local dialect in the first chapter of Of Mice and Men?

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In Chapter 1 of Of Mice and Men, George uses local dialect in much of what he says. He tells Lennie, "You gonna be sick like you was last night" (page numbers  vary by edition). Steinbeck produces George's speech in a way that a ranch hand might have really sounded, using the word "gonna" instead of the more formal "going to" and "you was" instead of the correct "you were." Later, George says, “I ain’t sure it’s good water...Looks kinda scummy" (page numbers vary by edition). "Ain't" is a colloquialism, as is "kinda." He also says, "You never oughta drink water when it ain’t running, Lennie" (page numbers by edition). In this sentence, he uses "oughta" instead of "ought to" and uses several double negatives ("never" and "ain't), again sounding the way a real person might sound. Later, George says, "We could just as well of rode clear to the ranch if that bastard bus driver knew what he was talkin’ about. ‘Jes’ a little stretch down the highway,’ he says" (page numbers vary by edition). In this speech, George uses "of" instead of "have" and uses the incorrect verb "rode" instead of "ridden." In addition to using incorrect verb forms, he imitates the driver of the bus, using the pronunciation "jes" instead of "just." Steinbeck's use of dialect does not imply that George is unintelligent; George is clearly observant and astute. George's way of speaking does, however, imply that he is a working man who perhaps did not have the benefit of many years of formal education.


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What are some quotes that show dialect in the book Of Mice and Men?

The best examples of dialect in Of Mice and Men are in the dialogue of Crooks and Candy. Chapter 4 is full of dialect by Crooks while he is talking to Lennie in his room and later to some of the others. Here is an example:

"I said s'pose Geoge went into town tonight and you never heard of him no more. . . . Nobody can't tell what a guy'll do. . . . Le's say he wants to come back and can't. S'pose he gets killed or hurt so he can't come back." (p. 71)

A good example of Candy's dialect can be found in his speech to the dead girl in the barn in Chapter 5.

"You God damn tramp," he said viciously. "You done it, di'n't you? I s'pose you're glad. Ever'body knowed you'd mess things up. You wasn't no good. You ain't no good now, you lousy tart."  (p. 95)

Dialect used to be very popular in American literature. Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn is full of it. American humorists like Artemis Ward used dialect heavily for evoking laughter. But readers became more sophisticated. By Steinbeck's time dialect was mainly suggested rather than literally transcribed.

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Where are some examples of diction in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men?

I think that one can find a great many examples of diction and peculiarities in speech patterns in Steinbeck's work.  One of the elements that makes his work so intensely powerful is that it captures the smallest nuances of individuals, right down to their speech patterns.  Lennie would be one...

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such example.  His manner of speech is reflective of his character.  One does not see him speaking in a fast or accelerated manner, unless he is talking about rabbits.  The way in which he says, "George" or asks a question is one where diction is slow and deliberate, almost like a child worried about being disciplined.  Contrast this with George's intensity and use of dismissive diction patterns like "Awwww," to reflect displeasure with the temporary state.  When speaking with others, his diction is more guarded, almost reflective of his being calculating probability with terms like "Reckon."  Curley's wife's use of "pitchers" to reflect her desire to be in movies is another such example.  Curley's diction is laced with "sunuvabitch" and other slang that are laced together with speed and haste, in order to create a threatening persona that goes along with his pugilistic, and small, tendencies.

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What are some examples of diction being used to explain hopes and dreams in Of Mice and Men?

The best way to answer this question is to give an extended quote of a refrain in the book. George and Lennie have a dream or vision to have a small plot of land. On that land, they will have a small house and grow their own vegetables. They will also have rabbits for Lennie to tend. They won't have to travel and live a life filled with hardships. The vision is akin to a land flowing with milk and honey, a veritable Promised Land for migrant workers on the road. 

Here is the quote:

“O.K. Someday—we’re gonna get the jack together and we’re gonna have a little house and a couple of acres an’ a cow and some pigs and—"

“An’ live off the fatta the lan’,” Lennie shouted. “An’ have rabbits. Go on, George! Tell about what we’re gonna have in the garden and about the rabbits in the cages and about the rain in the winter and the stove, and how thick the cream is on the milk like you can hardly cut it. Tell about that, George.” “Why’n’t you do it yourself? You know all of it."

“No . . . . you tell it. It ain’t the same if I tell it. Go on . . . . George. How I get to tend the rabbits."

“Well,” said George, “we’ll have a big vegetable patch and a rabbit hutch and chickens. And when it rains in the winter, we’ll just say the hell with goin’ to work, and we’ll build up a fire in the stove and set around it an’ listen to the rain comin’ down on the roof...” 

The is one of the beautiful passages in the book, because no one dreams. Steinbeck's world is a world without dreams, because all of them have been shattered. Therefore, Lennie and George stand out. They dare to dream and labor for it.  

The language they use is the diction of hard working men, who have not had the privilege of education. The grammar is not correct, but it is filled with hope add courage. 

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