Of Mice and Men Chapter 1 Quotations

A few miles south of Soledad, the Salinas river … runs deep and green Steinbeck sets the scene in the first chapter near Soledad (Spanish for “loneliness”) before the two protagonists arrive. The visual imagery is used to describe the peaceful haven that is undisturbed.
The rabbits hurried noiselessly for cover. The example of animal imagery suggests how George and Lennie bring violence and disturbance with them wherever they go. It foreshadows how they will never achieve their dream of living in harmony with nature.
A water snake slipped along on the pool The water snake is a biblical reference to the story of Adam and Eve where the snake results in their fall to Earth. Here, it foreshadows inevitable failure of the dreams of the protagonists.
The first man… sharp, strong features The description of George is mimetic to his personality and intelligence and his description reveals his awareness and maturity.
Behind him walked his opposite, a huge man, shapeless of face, There is ANTITHETICAL CHARACTERISATION between George and Lennie. George is small but has a quicker intellect. Lennie has great physical strength but has learning difficulties.
walked heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws…snorting into the water like a horse The use of animal imagery to describe Lennie effectively reflects his lack of intelligence and his primary use of animal instincts instead.
Think I’d let you carry your own work card? George does not trust Lennie to carry his own important belongings like a parent would carry a child’s important papers as he would lose them or forget them somewhere.
Lennie droned to himself softly, ‘I ain’t gonna say nothin’.’ Lennie is determined to please George and not disappoint him so he tries to remember George’s order in spite of his learning difficulties.
“They was so little, Lennie kills the mice unintentionally as he is not capable of managing his own strength, foreshadowing him killing Curley’s wife.
“I forgot,” Lennie said softly. “I tried not to forget” The reader has sympathy for Lennie because of the desperation he shows when trying to make George proud of him. The word ‘tried’ shows this. Lennie looks up to George and sees him as a father figure and always tries to make him proud. The reader feels sorry for him as throughout the novel, he is isolated because of his childish mind.
if I was alone I could live so easy. Sometimes George gets angry with Lennie because Lennie is always getting into trouble. In a REPEATED REFRAIN, he says that life would be better without Lennie, but he does not really believe it. It is IRONIC as, at the end of the novel, he ends up lonely after he shoots Lennie in a mercy killing.
You do bad things and I got to get you out George evokes Lennie’s mistakes which got them in trouble and his frustration that it had to happen. This also foreshadows another incident in the future but this time, George will not be able to save him.
‘God, you’re a lot of trouble… maybe have a girl.’ George is frustrated at Lennie’s mistakes thus resulting in them getting in trouble and tries to imagine his life without him. However, ultimately the reader understands George needs Lennie in his life and he doesn’t believe himself when he says he would be better off without him.
Just wanted to eel that girl’s dress Another indication that Lennie can’t control his strength and lets his desires and instincts take over instead of thinking, foreshadowing another incident.
Lennie, who had been watching, imitated George exactly The PARALANGUAGE of George and Lennie shows that they have a relationship like a father and son. George is the leader and Lennie is the follower.
like a terrier who doesn’t want to bring a ball to its master Lennie does not want to give George the mouse as a child doesn’t want to give its toy to the parent. Another animal imagery is used to reinforce the idea that Lennie relies on animal instincts and acts like one.
“I want you to stay with me, Lennie. Jesus Christ, somebody’d shoot you for a coyote if you was by yourself. George does not want to admit that he needs Lennie for companionship and uses an unlikely circumstance as an excuse. This could also foreshadow George shooting Lennie at the end of the novella.
Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no fambly. They don’t belong no place George and Lennie contrast themselves with other itinerant ranch hands in the important THEMATIC DICHOTOMY of LONELINESS VS COMPANIONSHIP.
With us it ain’t like that. We got a future One of the first aspects of George and Lennie’s dream in the novella when they believe they are different and they have a future unlike other ranch workers. This is a satirical representation of the American Dream as it ends in inevitable failure.
I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you Unlike all itinerant workers who are solitary, George and Lennie have each other to rely on for companionship and this makes them different from the others. George relies on Lennie for friendship and Lennie relies on George to guide him and help him.
live off the fatta the lan’, The reader is given the first reference to the dream ranch, which is George and Lennie’s version of the American Dream. It is a vision of living in harmony with their friends and with nature, and also of being independent of exploitative bosses.

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