What are three quotes that show Lennie's simple-mindedness in Of Mice and Men?

One quote that shows Lennie's simple-mindedness in Of Mice and Men is his response to Curley's wife when she asks why Lennie is so "nuts" about rabbits. Rather than describe to her the qualities that are more unique to rabbits, he tells her, "I like to pet nice things. Once at a fair I seen some of them long-hair rabbits. An' they was nice, you bet. Sometimes I've even pet mice, but not when I could get nothing better."

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It isn't clear what Lennie's unique mental challenges are, but he certainly interacts with others in ways that reflect an inability to reason in typically adult-like ways. Because of this, he has a great dependence on George and trusts that George will take care of him. This is one of the great ironies of the story; the man whom he trusts wholeheartedly is the man who actually kills him in the end.

Lennie loves to pet soft things, and he unfortunately doesn't realize his own strength. The animals die because Lennie pets them too roughly, and this demonstrates an inability to reason and respond appropriately to situations in his environment. Before they arrive at the ranch, George becomes suspicious that Lennie has hidden another animal from him and asks Lennie to produce it. Lennie insists that he found a dead mouse, and when George asks why he wants to carry around a dead mouse, Lennie responds,

I could pet it with my thumb while we walked along.

Lennie simply doesn't understand the harm in carrying around dead animals and is only concerned with the fact that they are soft and comforting. He cannot reason that they could carry diseases and could therefore cause him harm.

Later in this same scene, George gets angry with Lennie. Lennie seems quite childlike in his response:

If you don’t want me, you only jus’ got to say so, and I’ll go off in those hills right there—right up in those hills and live by myself. An’ I won’t get no mice stole from me.

Lennie basically threatens to run away, which is not feasible, because he isn't capable of taking care of himself. Unable to navigate the world of typical adults independently, he relies on George's sense of reasoning. Even more indicative of his childlike mindset in these lines is his focal point: In isolation, no one could take away his mice. He isn't concerned with surviving the elements or with feeding himself in the wild. His mind is only concerned with finally having the freedom to keep the pets he desperately longs for.

When Lennie talks to Curley's wife, she asks him why he's so "nuts" about rabbits. Again, his explanation reveals a childlike mind:

I like to pet nice things. Once at a fair I seen some of them long-hair rabbits. An' they was nice, you bet. Sometimes I've even pet mice, but not when I could get nothing better.

Lennie simply enjoys soft things. His explanation to Curley's wife doesn't reveal the rational mind of an experienced adult, who might comment on things such as rabbits' easygoing personalities, their bonds with their owners, or their ease in training. Instead, Lennie focuses on one tangible quality: softness.

Much of Lennie's dialogue and his responses to other adults around him reveal his mental challenges.

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Lennie, the keeper of the dream in Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, is, indeed, simple-minded and childlike.  At the river outside Soledad, George must repeat again and again to Lennie where they are going.  When George complains that he must always repeat, Lennie says softly,

"Tried and tried [to remember]...but it didn't do not good."

After George takes the mouse from Lennie that is dead, he promises to let Lennie have a fresh one sometime.  Lennie says as he hangs his head dejectedly,

"I don't know where there is no other mouse.  I remember a lady used to give' em to me--ever'one she got.  But that lady ain't here."

George scoffed.  "Lady, huh?  Don't even remember who that lady was.  That was your own Aunt Clara.

In another instance, Lennie's inability to reason is very apparent when Crooks taunts him after Lennie and Candy enter his quarters in the stable.  in his jealousy of their friendship, Crooks asks Lennie what he would do if George went into town and never returned.

Crooks' face lighted with plesure in his torture.  "Nobody can't tell what a guy'll do," he observed calmly.  "le's say he wants to comeback and can't.  Spose he gets killed or hurt so he can't come back."

Lennie struggled to understand.  "George won't do nothing lke that," he repeated.  "Geore is careful.  He won't get hurt.  He ain't never been hurt, 'cause he's careful."

But Crooks continues his bantering, until in his miscomprehension, Lennie becomes angry:

"Want me ta tell ya what'll happen?  They'll take ya to the booby hatch.  They'll tie ya up with a collar, like a dog."

Suddenly Lennie's eyes centered and grew quiet, and mad.  He stood up and walked dangerously toward Crooks.  "Who hurt George?" he demanded.

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I love Lennie, but frankly just about anything he says demonstrates his simple-mindedness.  This is a novella (a very short novel), so John Steinbeck doesn't have much time or space to create his characters in a way the reader will find believable and relatable.  With Lennie, he creates an impression by how he looks, what he does, and what he says from the very first time we meet Lennie.

Lennie has flopped down at the edge of a pool of water and doused his entire head, hat and all.  He's thirsty and the water is refreshing, but this image of a grown (extra large) man pulling his head out of the water, dripping all over himself, is comical.  Then he speaks:

"'Tha's good," he says.  'You drink some, George.  You take a good big drink.' He smiled happily."

The image then changes from comical to that of a child who wants to share something he really likes.

Another line which Lennie speaks is this:

"'I don' like this place, George.  This ain't no good place.  I wanna get outa here.'"

He is referring to the ranch (and the barn with Curly's wife specifically), and it turns out he's right; however, his is not a logical, well reasoned argument.  Instead, it's more like a child who just senses something bad but can't really articulate what's bothering him.

A third quote is:

"'I done another bad thing.'  It don't make no difference.'"

Lennie has killed a woman--by accident, of course--and all he knows to say is he's done "a bad thing" once again.  That's not the reaction of a grown person; it's the confession of a child.

Lennie's a child trapped in a man's body, and nearly everything he says and does confirms that.

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