Of Mice and Men Essential Quotes by Theme: Friendship
by John Steinbeck

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Essential Quotes by Theme: Friendship

Essential Passage 1: Chapter 1

George went on. “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 blown’ 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 give 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!”

“You got it by heart. You can do it yourself.”

“No, you. I forget some a’ the things. Tell about how it’s gonna be.”

“O.K. Someday—we’re gonna get the jack together and we’re gonna have a little house and a couple of acres an’ a cow and some pigs and—.”

An’ live off the fatta the lan’,” Lennie shouted. “An’ have rabbits. Go on, George! Tell about what we’re gonna have in the garden and about the rabbits in the cages and about the rain in the winter and the stove, and how thick the cream is on the milk like you can hardly cut it. Tell about that, George.”

As they camp beside the river, George and Lennie plan their next move as they take on a new job, hoping to make some money. Their dream is to buy a small place that George knows off, owned by an elderly couple the wife of whom needs an operation. For a small price George and Lennie can become home owners, the goal of every true-blooded American, so the idea goes. Their plan is to have a small, self-sufficient farm, where they can be free and independent. More than anything, Lennie is looking forward to the rabbits, which George has promised him that he could take care of. It is scene that has been rehearsed so many times that Lennie can repeat George’s words by heart. But a dream always bears repeating. However, more than the dream, they have each other, Lennie and George forever. While other drifters and migrant workers may be solitary, these two have each other for support, protection, and guidance.

Essential Passage 2: Chapter 4

Crooks said gently, “Maybe you can see now. You got George. You know he’s goin’ to come back. S’pose you didn’t have nobody. S’pose you couldn’t go into the bunk house and play rummy ‘cause you was black. How’d you like that? S’pose you had to sit out here an’ read books. Sure you could play horseshoes till it got dark, but then you got to read books. Books ain’t no good. A guy needs somebody—to be near him.” He whined, “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.”

It is a Saturday night, and most of the ranch hands are in town. Crooks, the sole black hand, is in his room, a mere shed attached to the barn. He is segregated from the white crew and resents it. He thus guards his imposed privacy, unappreciative when Lennie comes to pay a visit on his way back from seeing his puppy. Reluctantly, Crooks lets him in, more out of sheer loneliness that friendship. The discrimination has given him a cruel streak, and he teases Lennie with the idea that George may never come back. At first, Lennie is unfazed, knowing of George’s loyalty. But then, Crooks manages to get him to explore the possibility that at some time, something could happen to George, and Lennie would be alone. When Lennie becomes truly upset, Crooks apologizes, assuring him that George will indeed return. Crooks tries to make Lennie see the point: Lennie has George. Crooks, on the other hand, has no one, simply because he is black. He is excluded from all the activities of the white men, other than work. At night, all he has is his books. But books do not provide true companionship. Crooks is willing to talk to anybody, as long as they are “there.”

Essential Passage 3: Chapter 6

“You …an’ me. Ever’body gonna be nice to you. Ain’t gonna be...

(The entire section is 1,646 words.)