Of Mice and Men Essential Quotes by Character: Lennie Small
by John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Download Of Mice and Men Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Essential Quotes by Character: Lennie Small

Essential Passage 1: Chapter 1

Lennie hesitated, backed away, looked wildly at the brush line as though he contemplated running for his freedom. George said coldly, “You gonna give me that mouse or do I have to sock you?”
“Give you what, George?”
“You know God damn well what. I want that mouse.”
Lennie reluctantly reached into his pocket. His voice broke a little. “I don’t know why I can’t keep it. It ain’t nobody’s mouse. I didn’t steal it. I found it lyin’ right beside the road.”
George’s hand remained outstretched imperiously. Slowly, like a terrier who doesn’t want to bring a ball to its master, Lennie approached, drew back, approached again. George snapped his fingers sharply, and at the sound Lennie laid the mouse in his hand.


George and Lennie have stopped for the night at a shady spot beside a river, traveling on their way to a job on a nearby ranch. Having been let off four miles from the ranch by a bus driver who did not want to take the trouble to take two migrant workers that far out of his way, George and Lennie find a place to rest. Lennie, fascinated by soft things, has found a dead mouse beside the road. He is hiding it in his pocket, knowing that George will make him throw it away. Lennie often had mice as pets as a child, given to him by his Aunt Clara, but he always killed them by petting them too hard. Now under George’s protection, Lennie follows him closely, with dog-like devotion. And it is in this way that George occasionally treats him.

Essential Passage 2: Chapter 2

Lennie cried out suddenly—“I don’t like this place, George. This ain’t no good place. I wanna get outta here.”
“We gotta keep it till we get a stake. We can’t help it, Lennie. We’ll get out jus’ as soon as we can. I don’t like it no better than you do.” He went back to the table and set out a new solitaire hand. “No, I don’t like it,” he said. “For two bits I’d shove out of here. If we can get jus’ a few dollars I the poke we’ll shove off and go up the American River and pan gold. We can make maybe a couple of dollars a day there, and we might hit a pocket.”
Lennie leaned eagerly toward him. “Le’s go, George. Le’s get outta here. It’s mean here.”


George and Lennie, having arrived late to the ranch where they have secured a job, sit in the bunk house, meeting their new companions. Curley, the boss’s surly son, has already developed a dislike for Lennie, which is not unusual since Curley dislikes and distrusts everyone. His wife, however, enjoys hanging around the bunkhouse, pretending to be in search of her husband. At Lennie’s first introduction to Curley’s wife, he is enthralled by her prettiness. George, however, recognizes trouble when he sees it, and he warns Lennie to stay away from her. Lennie had found himself in serious trouble on their last job when he tried to touch a girl’s dress, panicking and unable to let go when she screamed. Accused of rape, Lennie and George had to escape by hiding in a ditch. George is beginning to see signs that a similar situation might occur. Suddenly, Lennie sees the danger and wants to leave the ranch. “This ain’t no good place,” he says, detecting the underlying tension among the ranch inhabitants and sensing trouble. George, however, tells him they have to stay, since they are trying to earn money, not just to survive, but to buy a place of their own so they can give up the migrant work.

Essential Passage 3: Chapter 6

George came quietly out of the brush and the rabbit scuttled back into Lennie’s brain.
George said quietly, “What the hell you yellin’ about?”
Lennie got up on his knees. “You ain’t gonna leave me, are ya, George? I know you ain’t.”
George came stiffly near and sat down beside him. “No.”
“I knowed it,” Lennie cried. “You ain’t that kind.”
George was silent.
Lennie said, “George.”
“I done another bad thing.”
“It don’t make no difference,” George...

(The entire section is 1,422 words.)