What are the conflicts between the characters in chapter 3 in the book, Of Mice and Men?

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There are many different conflicts depicted in John Steinbeck's novella Of Mice and Men. In chapter three of the novel, many conflicts become very evident.

Candy and Carlson

The conflict between Candy and Carlson revolves around Candy's dog. Carlson believes the dog to be too old and decrepit to be of any use or good to Candy. He fails to recognize Candy's emotional need for the dog. In the end, Carlson shoots Candy's dog because the other men (mainly Slim) agrees the dog is of no use.

“Carl’s right, Candy. That dog ain’t no good to himself. I wisht somebody’d shoot me if I get old an’ a cripple.”

Curley and Lennie

This chapter three, Curley and Lennie get into a physical confrontation. Curley, a self-proclaimed "man's man," is insulted because he believes that Lennie is laughing at him. Lennie, pushed by George, crushes Curley's hand.

George put out his hand and grabbed Slim. “Wait a minute,” he shouted. He cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled, “Get ‘im, Lennie!”

The conflict between Curley and Lennie is based upon Curley's desire to be seen as the most powerful man on the ranch. Ironically enough, the man who beats him is the one who he thinks the least of (given Lennie's mental slowness).

Curley's wife and the men

Curley's wife causes many conflicts within the novel. In chapter three, the men are discussing the problems which come with Curley's wife. Curley is very wary about the men and his wife (especially Slim). He thinks that she is constantly going behind his back with other men on the ranch. No one really trusts her and all of the men tend to stay away from her.

“She’s gonna make a mess. They’s gonna be a bad mess about her. She’s a jail bait all set on the trigger. That Curley got his work cut out for him. Ranch with a bunch of guys on it ain’t no place for a girl, specially like her.”

All of the conflicts are external (meaning they exist between one person and another). That said, the conflict between Curley and Lennie exists because of Curley's internal conflict regarding his self-image.


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