What are some meaningful quotes in chapter 2 of Of Mice and Men?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would say that one of the most meaningful quotes in the chapter happens in its exposition.  Steinbeck goes through painstaking detail to make sure that the bunkhouse is described in a manner that reflects how the migrant worker lives.  The transience of such a setting is what is conveyed through his description in the opening of the chapter.  Concluding this would be when Candy describes why the previous worker who occupied the same bed that George and Lennie will occupy ended up leaving:

Why . . . . he . . . . just quit, the way a guy will.
Says it was the food. Just wanted to move. Didn’t give no other reason but the food. Just says ‘gimme my time’ one night, the way any guy would.

The reality of people leaving, just quitting "the way a guy will" is significant and memorable because it shows how little connection is present in the world in which George and Lennie work.  It also makes their connection that much more meaningful in its own right. 

Finally, I would have to say that Lennie's fear of Curley is meaningful because it foreshadows both the fundamental conflict and climax in the narrative as well as Lennie's own fear and dependence on George.  Lennie's vulnerability and likability are on display in this chapter:  “I don’t want no trouble...Don’t let him sock me, George.”  In this sentiment and quote, Lennie's characterization becomes memorable.

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