The term significant quotations applies to passages and dialogues that reveal character traits or pertain to theme or are pivotal to the plot of a narrative.
In John Steinbeck' novella, the theme of man's alienation as a result of the Great Depression is prevalent throughout the narrative. One significant passage is the recitation of the dream that Lennie asks George to repeat. This can first be found in Chapter 1, but it is repeated throughout the book
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Prior to this recitation of the dream which brings comfort to the men, George explains to Lennie the value of their friendship:
"With us it ain't like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. We don't have to sit in no bar room blowin' in our jack jus' because we got no place else to go. If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us."
Lennie broke in. "But not us! An' why? Because...because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that's why." He laughed delightedly. "Go on now, George." [Ch.1]
A tall man stood in the doorway....Like the others he wore blue jeans and a short denim jacket. When he had finished combing his hair, he moved into the room, and he moved with a majesty only achieved by royalty and master craftsmen.....There was a gravity in his manner and a quiet so profound that all talk stopped when spoke. His authority was so great that his word was taken on any subject, be it politics or love. This was Slim, the jerkline skinner....His ear heard more than was said to him, and his slow speech had overtones no of thought, but of understanding beyond thought. His hands, large and lean, were as delicate in their actions as those of a temple dancer. [Ch. 2]
Slim looked through George and beyond him. "Ain't many guys travel around together," he mused. "I don't know why. Maybe ever'body in the whole damn world is scared of each other." [Ch.2]
George looked over at Slim and saw the calm, God-like eyes fastened on him...."He's [Lennie] a nice fella," said Slim. "Guy don't need no sense to be a nice fella. Seems to me sometimes it jus' workds the other way around. Take a real smart guy and he ain't hardly ever a nice fella." [Ch.3]
"I ain't got no people," George said. "I seen the guys that go around on the ranches alone. That ain't no good. They don't have no fun. After a long time they get mean. They get wantin' to fight all the time." [Ch.3]
Later in this chapter, Carlson wants to take Candy's old dog outside and put him down. Candy cannot bear to part from his old friend, and is desolated by the final judgment:
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. [Ch. 3]
In the world of men, Curley's wife is the Eve, the temptress who disrupts any change of fraternity:
George said, "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. [Ch.3]
Continuing the theme of fraternity, Crooks says,
"A guy needs somebody--to be near him....A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody. Don't make no difference who the guy is, long's he's with you. I tell ya," he cried, "I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an' he gets sick." [ch.4]
After shooting Lennie, George is told by Slim,
..."You hadda, George. I swear you hadda. Come on with me."...
Curley and Carlson looked after them. And Carlson said, "Now what the hell ya suppose is eatin' them to guys?" [Ch. 5]