What quotes show betrayal in Of Mice and Men?I have an essay about betrayal and we have to use Of Mice and Men, but I need help finding quotes of betrayal in that story and what were the quotes...

What quotes show betrayal in Of Mice and Men?

I have an essay about betrayal and we have to use Of Mice and Men, but I need help finding quotes of betrayal in that story and what were the quotes explaining.

Expert Answers
andrewnightingale eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The word betrayal is commonly understood to mean the act of deceiving or misleading someone to either get an advantage or to fulfill some malicious purpose when the one being betrayed trusts and believes in you and apparently expects you to be loyal to them or their cause.

There are some subtle hints regarding betrayal in Of Mice and Men. The first would be Candy's self-betrayal when he allows Carlson to shoot his dog after Slim advised him that it was the right thing to do and Carlson incessantly pestered him about doing it. 

Candy looked a long time at Slim to try to find some reversal. And Slim gave him none. At last Candy said softly and hopelessly, "Awright- take 'im." He did not look down at the dog at all. He lay back on his bunk and crossed his arms behind his head and stared at the ceiling.

The dog has been providing Candy with companionship, and he's been raising it since it was a puppy. He is also betraying his pet by denying the dog the dignity of a natural death. By relenting to pressure and Slim's advice, he denies himself the continued friendship that the dog has been providing. He is misled by the fact that he trusts Slim's advice instead of acting on what he feels.

The following example from chapter 4 displays another act of betrayal:

George scowled. "I thought I tol' you not to tell nobody about that."

George is addressing Candy on this occasion. He has just discovered that Candy has spoken about their desire to buy a small farm and live off its produce. George feels betrayed because he had asked that none of the them, including himself, should speak to anyone about their dream. However, both Lennie and Candy have talked to Crooks about it. 

The following excerpt indicates another betrayal: 

"I never got that letter," she said. "I always thought my ol' lady stole it. Well, I wasn't gonna stay no place where I couldn't get nowhere or make something of myself, an' where they stole your letters, I ast her if she stole it, too, an' she says no.

On this occasion, in chapter 5, Curley's wife is confiding in Lennie and telling him about her dream of becoming an actress. She met a man who told her that he would write to her as soon as he got back to Hollywood. Either the man never wrote to her, or her mother got rid of the letter. At any rate, Curley's wife has been betrayed by people she trusted. She could have been deceived or lied to by one of the two.

It can just as much be said that George's act in shooting Lennie at the end of the novella is a betrayal.

Lennie begged, "Le's do it now. Le's get that place now."
"Sure, right now. I gotta. We gotta."

George says this just before executing his best friend and confidante. He has deceived Lennie into believing that their dream is still alive and asks him to imagine it, and then, when Lennie does so, he shoots him in the back of the head, killing him instantly. At the moment just before he died, Lennie believed that they would achieve their goal. One may argue that George's act was one of compassion and love for his friend, but Lennie, of course, will never know that.

kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Betrayal as a theme starts early in the novel. In Chapter 1 the two men are conned into walking miles to the ranch by the lazy bus driver-

Kicks us out and says, ‘Jes’ a little stretch down the road.’ I bet it was more than four miles. Damn hot day.

George clarifies the last time he betrayed Lennie in Chapter 3:

One day a bunch of guys was standin’ around up on the Sacramento River. I was feelin’ pretty smart. I turns to Lennie and says ‘Jump in.’ An’ he jumps. Couldn’t swim a stroke. He damn near drowned before we could get him. An’ he was so damn nice to me for pullin’ him out. Clean forgot I told him to jump in.

Curley’s wife was also betrayed, either by the man in the dance hall, or her overzealous mother:

 …he was in pitchers. Went to the Riverside Dance Palace with him. Says he was gonna put me in the movies. Says I was a natural.

Curley’s wife never received a latter from Hollywood, and married Curley, who she met at the same dance hall.

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Of Mice and Men

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