Of Mice and Men – Who is talking?

Encourage the learners to know the text by using these sentences and phrases to explain who is talking and to also e.xplain the context

‘I ain’t sure it’s good water, … looks kinda scummy.’

‘I remember about the rabbits, George.’

‘God a’mighty, if I was alone I could live so easy.’

‘Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world.’

‘Hide in the brush until I come for you. Can you remember that?’

‘I wrote Murray and Ready I wanted two men this morning.’

‘…what stake you got in this guy? You takin’ his pay away from him?’

‘I seen ’em poison before, but 1 never seen no piece of jail-bait worse than her.’

‘Hell of a nice fella, but he ain’t bright.’

‘You seen a girl around here?’

‘He’ll want to sleep right out in the barn with ’em,’

‘What’d he do in Weed?’

‘We can’t sleep with him stinkin’ around in here.’

‘George, why is it both end’s the same?’

‘I could cook and tend the chickens and hoe the garden some.’

‘Leggo of him Lennie, let go.’

‘This punk sure had it coming to him.’

‘Gonna get a little place an’ live on the fatta the lan’.’

‘A guy can talk to you an’ be Sure you won’t go blabbin’.’

‘I tell ya a guy gets too lonely, an’ he gets sick’

‘You bindle bums think you’re so damn good.’

‘I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain’t even funny.’

‘Why do you got to get killed? You ain’t so little as mice.’

‘I coulda made somethin’ of myself.’

‘I done a bad thing. I done another bad thing.’

‘I’ll shoot ‘im in the guts.’

‘He been doin’ nice things for you alla time’

‘Never you mind … A guy got to sometimes.’

‘Now what the hell do you suppose is eatin’ them two guys?’

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Of Mice and Men – Who is being described here? 2

‘She had full, rouged lips and wide spaced eyes, heavily made up. Her fingernails were red. Her hair hung in little rolled clusters, like sausages. Her voice had a brittle, nasal quality.’

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‘A tall man … he combed his long black damp hair straight back. … he moved with a majesty only achieved by royalty and master craftsmen. … His hatchet face was ageless. He might have been thirty-five or fifty.’

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‘A powerful, big-stomached man’

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‘The angry little man …’

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‘…calm godlike eyes’

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‘… thick-bodied’

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‘A young labouring man … His sloping shoulders were bent forward, and he walked heavily on his heels, as though he carried an invisible grain bag.’

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‘A lean Negro head, lined with pain, the eyes patient’

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‘His body was bent over to the left by his crooked spine, and his eyes lay deep in his head, and because of their depth seemed to glitter with intensity… ‘

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‘She was very pretty and simple, and her face was sweet and young’

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‘… a little fat old woman. She wore thick bull’s eye glasses and she wore a huge gingham apron with pockets, and she was starched and clean.’

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Of Mice and Men – Plot Outline

Outline of the plot.  This can be very useful for revision or to secure the important parts of the story in the students minds.

Chapter 1

George Milton and Lennie Small appear in a woody clearing by the Salinas River. We learn that they are travelling (itinerant) farmworkers heading for a job on a ranch, and that George is in charge of Lennie who is of very limited intelligence. Lennie likes ‘petting’ soft things, and is obsessed with rabbits. We also learn that they had to leave Weed because Lennie was accused of molesting a girl. George tells Lennie to come and hide in the brush if there is any trouble. They have supper, talk of their dreams of owning a farm, and go to sleep.

Chapter 2

George and Lennie have arrived at the bunkhouse where the men of the ranch sleep. They meet Candy ‘the swamper’, an old man with one hand who looks after the bunkhouse. They settle in. Then the Boss arrives, he is angry that they are late, and suspicious because George does not let Lennie speak. Candy comes back with his old dog, and then Curley, the boss’s aggressive son also looks in and tries to bait Lennie. Candy later explains that Curley likes to fight bigger men, and that he has just got married. Curley’s wife then appears briefly. The men, including Slim and Carlson return from the fields. Slim’s dog has just had puppies; George says that he will ask if Lennie can have one.

Chapter 3

It is now evening, and the men are playing horseshoes outside in the yard. Slim and George are talking in the bunkhouse. Lennie comes in with his new puppy under his coat, but George makes him take it back to the barn. The other men come in. Carlson complains about the smell of Candy’s dog, and offers to shoot it. Despite Candy’s protests Slim agrees that this should be done, but that he can have one of his puppies. Everybody leaves except Candy, George and Lennie. Lennie starts talking to George about their dream farm. Candy, who has been grieving for his dog, starts listening, and asks if he can join in the scheme. He has money – $350 – saved. The rest of the men come back, talking about Curley’s wife. Then Curley comes in, and picks a fight with Lennie, who crushes his hand.

Chapter 4

The scene is set in Crooks’ room. He does not live with the other men because he is black. He is a bitter, solitary man, and is not pleased when Lennie comes to talk to him, but he realises that he can say what he likes to Lennie, and that Lennie will not gossip, or remember what has been said. Candy comes in to look for Lennie, to talk about the farm. Crooks is very interested, and thinks that he might be able to join them. Curley’s wife then appears, and flirts with the men. When Crooks stands up to her, and tries to get her to leave, she threatens him, saying that she could get him lynched. The other men come back from town.

Chapter 5

Lennie is in the barn. He has accidentally killed his puppy by petting it too hard. All the other men are playing horseshoes outside. Curley’s wife comes into the barn. Lennie tries to ignore her, as George has told him not to speak to her, but he ends up telling her what happened to the puppy. Curley’s wife starts telling him about her life and dreams. She invites Lennie to feel her soft hair. When Lennie starts to stroke it too hard, she becomes frightened and struggles. Lennie panics, and in an attempt to quieten her, breaks her neck. Realising that he will be in serious trouble, he half-hides the body in the hay, and escapes. Candy comes in to look for Lennie and sees Curley’s wife. He goes and gets George. George tells Candy to give him a few moments to think, and then to go an tell the men. They all burst in, including Curley, who says he will shoot Lennie, and rushes to get his gun. Slim realises that they will have to find Lennie, and asks George where he might have gone. Some of the men are sent for the Sheriff, At the end, Candy is left alone with the body and his broken dreams,

Chapter 6

The scene is the same as Chapter 1. Lennie is hiding in the brush, as George had told him to do. He has visions or hallucinations of his Aunt Clara and a gigantic rabbit telling him off for letting George down. George finds him, and the sound of the other men can be heard in the distance. George sits down beside. Him. Lennie expects George to give him hell, but they just talk. Lennie asks again to be told about the farm. As they talk, George shoots him in the back of the head with Carlson’s gun. The men appear, very excited. Slim realises straight away what has happened, that George had no choice and leads him away from the clearing.

Of Mice and Men – Characters

Of Mice and Men

by John Steinbeck

 

The Characters

George Milton          A travelling farmworker, friend and, protector of Lennie. He is small, but intelligent and quick-witted.

Lennie Small            A huge child-like man who travels. with George. He is incapable of looking after himself, is extremely strong, and is fascinated by soft things.

Candy                        An elderly man who has lost one hand in an accident on the ranch. He looks after the bunkhouse.

The Boss      A small stocky man who owns the ranch. He can be short tempered, but is considered a good boss.

Curley            The Boss’s son. A small, angry man, who is always ready to pick a fight. He has been a boxer. He has been married a fortnight to

Curlev’s Wife           A pretty, lonely girl who dreams of being a film star. We never learn her name.

Slim    A tall, thoughtful Man who drives the mules and horses. An expert worker, and the man whom everyone looks up to.

Carlson         A worker on the ranch. He is powerfully built, and a bully, with little understanding of people’s feelings. He owns a Luger pistol.

Crooks          Looks after the horses (is the ‘stable buck’). He is the only black worker on the ranch, a proud and lonely man who has to live apart from the other men. His back is twisted after a kick from a horse.

Whit    A young ranch worker.