Of Mice and Men Questions and Answers
by John Steinbeck

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What happens between Curley and Lennie in Of Mice and Men?

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Curley takes an instant dislike to Lennie, or at least sees him as a perfect victim for his pugilistic mentality. Lennie is a big man who is unaware of his strength and is childlike in his speech and mannerisms. Curley is small and mean. As Candy says-

Curley’s like a lot of little guys. He hates big guys. He’s alla time picking scraps with big guys. Kind of like he’s mad at ‘em because he ain’t a big guy. (pg 28)

George warns Lennie to stay away from Curley but it is inevitable that their paths will cross. George, Lennie and Candy have been discussing their dream of their own place when Curley bursts in looking for his wife. Lennie is smiling to himself with the prospect of tending the rabbits when Curley directs his rage to him-

No big son-of-a-bitch is gonna laugh at me. (pg 62)

 Lennie puts out his hand to defend himself from Curley’s blows. At George’s command, ‘Get him, Lennie.’ –

 ‘Curley’s fist was swinging when Lennie reached for it. The next minute Curley was flopping like a fish on a line, and his closed fist was lost in lennie’s big hand.(p63)

Curley agrees to cover up the incident as a machine accident, but his desire for revenge is enough to make him lead the posse after the death of his wife, intent to make Lennie suffer-

 I’ll shoot him in the guts. (p95)

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