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Of Mice And Men: Lennie And George Essay, Research Paper

Of Mice and Men: Lennie and George

Of Mice and Men, written by John Steinbeck, is the story of two

simple farm hands, Lennie Small, who incidentally, really isn’t very small, and

his better half, George Milton, on their quest to have “a place of their own,”

with plenty of furry bunnies, of course. Sound strange? Read on to get clued


The book opens along the banks of the Salinas River a few miles south of

Soledad, California. Everything is calm and beautiful, and nature is alive.

The trees are green and fresh, lizards are skittering along, rabbits sit on the

sand. There are no people in the scene. Suddenly, the calm is broken. Trouble

is in the air. Animals begin to scatter. Two men have arrived on the scene,

and the environment seems troubled by their presence. For a moment the scene

becomes “lifeless.” Then in walk George and Lennie.

Lennie, a large, retarded, big man who has the mind of a little child,

and who loves to pet soft, pretty things, and George, a little man, who has

assumed the responsibility of taking care of his simpleminded friend Lennie,

are walking on their way to apply for a harvesting job on a nearby farm. The

two had been traveling together for quite some time now, which was very rare,

because most farm workers rarely have companions, but George and Lennie have

been together ever since Lennie’s Aunt had passed away, and Lennie began to

follow George around everywhere.

Instead of hurrying to the farm that night, they stop by a stream to

camp in the open, and they’ll arrive at work the next morning. Why? Well,

Lennie isn’t very bright. George didn’t want him to blow the job opportunity.

The logic between waiting until morning until going to work was, that way, all

the other farm hands would be out working, thus they’d have a better chance of

getting the job, since Lennie wouldn’t have to confront to many people, which

can easily make him “confused.”

During that evening, George had to take a dead mouse away from Lennie, who

had been hoarding it because he liked to pet it. George tried to teach

simpleminded Lennie that you don’t pet dead things, but Lennie had a hard time


George is aware that Lennie has difficulty remembering things, so he has

to remind him every time that they went for a job not to say anything, and to

let him do the talking. He also stresses the importance that Lennie returns to

the particular place and hide in the stream or bushes if gets in any trouble,

which plays an important role later on in the story. Also in the forest, we

here the story of living “off the fatta’ the land,” for the first time. They

dreamed of one day having a place of their very own, in which Lennie could tend

to as many bunnies as he would like. Lennie was apparently obsessed with this

dream, because all throughout the book, he nags George to repeat the story over

and over, like a child. The next morning during the job interview, the boss of

the farm becomes suspicous when George answers every question for Lennie.

George told him of the situation, how he isn’t very smart, but he makes sure

the boss realizes that he is an excellent worker. The boss is a little

suspicious, and believes that George is taking advantage of Lennie, so he had to

lie, and he told the boss that they were cousins, in order to get rid of any

suspicion. Then they were hired.

That night in the bunkhouse, which is were Lennie and George were

staying, there is a conflict over whether or not the old dog which Candy, an

old crippled farm hand, owned should be killed or not, because it smelled so

terrible. After much argument, Candy agrees to let Carlson, another farm hand,

kill the old dog. After making sure that the dog had his head turned, Carlson

shot him. Candy later regrets letting someone else shoot his own dog like that,

and wishes he would have put him out of his misery himself. This is

foreshadowing an event that takes place with Lennie and George later in the


Later that night, after the old dog had been killed, Candy realized that

he to would soon be old and unwanted like the dog was, so, wanting to have

companions, he decided to join Lennie and George in their dream of having their

own place, where they could all be together. This becomes an important theme

throughout the book, the idea that all people have dreams, and also that fact

that all people need companionship to get along.

Meanwhile, Curley, the arrogant son of the boss, who likes to try and

pick on bigger people that he is, was trying to find his wife, and he couldn’t

find her anywhere. When he walked into the bunkhouse and saw Lennie grinning,

about the dream of the place that they would one day have, of course, he began

to hit him, thinking that Lennie was grinning towards him. Lennie did nothing

for self defense until George told him to. He then, almost mechanically,

reached out and crushed Curley’s hand, with no apparent difficulty at all. This

gets Curley all steamed, and would eventually push him over the edge later in

the book?

That weekend, everyone is in town but Lennie, Candy, and Crooks, who is

a Negro stable keeper who keeps to himself, and has no friends. After being

really rude towards Lennie when he tried to walk into his quarters of the

bunkhouse, he saw that Lennie was generally friendly, and let he and Candy in.

They talked about their dream of their own place, and Crooks decided he’d like

to join them. He said he’d work for his keep. They all agreed on it, and now

Crooks too was in on the deal, that is, until Curley’s wife, who is also just as

lonely as the farm workers, is bored and comes in and begins to harass him, and

he realizes that he really has no hope of these things really happening.

The next day, Lennie receive’s a puppy after begging George, but

accidentally kills it by playing too hard with the puppy. Curley’s wife, who

is really bored, sees what he is hiding, and tries to talk to him about it,

explaining that it was okay, it was only a “mutt.” After she discovers his

obsession with petting things, she lets him pet her soft hair. He enjoys it,

but doesn’t know how to be gentle, and pets it to hard. She struggles to get

loose, but he held her closer. When she tried to yell, he held her even

tighter, because he was tensing up, afraid that he had done something bad, and

if anyone found out about it (he wasn’t even supposed to be talking with her in

the first place), he’d get in big trouble, and not get to tend to the bunnies

one day, which was his big goal in life. Knowing this, and not knowing what to

do, he grasped her tighter and tighter, until his strength had snapped her neck,

leaving her dead. He was all confused, and afraid. He knew this was bad.

Luckily, he remembered to run to the forest and hide if he was in trouble, so

he did.

When Candy discovered her body, they new immediately that it was Lennie.

Curley, was furious, and in addition to this, he was already mad about Lennie

crushing his hand, so he ordered that all the men go with him to find Lennie and

kill him. George was concerned for his friend, so, while he stalled, he stole

Carlson’s gun so he wouldn’t have it to go after Lennie with. Then he ran

ahead of the gang to the forest to check on Lennie.

Meanwhile, Lennie was seeing strange things. He saw a huge image of his

Aunt, and she was scolding him for messing things up, and always being a hassle

for George. Then he saw the image of a large rabbit. The rabbit told him that

George would beet him, and that he’d never be able to take care of the rabbits.

Lennie, having complete faith in his good friend George, denied all this, saying

that George would never do such a thing.

After a little while, George showed up, and Lennie was relieved. He

told Lennie that everything would be alright. But not even George could deny

that Lennie had done something very wrong this time. While Lennie had George

repeat the story of the place that they would one day have, and Lennie’s back

was turned, he pulled out the gun and shot Lennie, killing him. The rest of

the workers then caught up and congratulated him for his doings.

Why had George killed his dear friend Lennie? Well, think back to when

Candy had to part with his dog, and he let Carlson do it for him. This was the

same type of situation, but George decided that he’d rather put Lennie out of

his misery himself rather that see him mutilated by the vengeful Curley. It

was mainly for his own good, and at least he died happily, thinking of his long

life dream. But George had sacrificed his companion, and he too, like the other

farm hands, would now have to live a life alone in misery, with nobody who cares

for him.

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