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Of Mice and Men - My first impressions of Lennie and George and their social background.

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Of Mice and Men My First Impressions of Lennie and George And Their Social Background The first description of Lennie Small and George Milton is early on in the novel, when Steinbeck describes them arriving at a picturesque setting, along the Salinas River in California. Beside "golden foothill slopes", where fresh, green willows stand and rabbits, deer and racoons run, the two men make their camp. They are like chalk and cheese. George is small, quick-witted and precise while Lennie, his faithful friend, is a lumbering giant, slow and dim-witted. Their common bond is their uniform-like denim and black, shapeless hats which they wear as they make their way from ranch to ranch, working as farm labourers and living the lives of drifters. It is clear that Lennie has no sense at all and George has to watch over him constantly. He scolds him for drinking stagnant water and tells him off about the dead mouse in his pocket. Lennie cries when George makes him hand over the mouse, for a second time. When George throws the mouse away for good, Lennie cries like a baby. ...read more.


The two men are used to living rough, and it's clear from their way of speech and their way of life that they are poor and uneducated. Yet they both have a dream, which Steinbeck reveals on page 15. Lennie pleads with George to tell him the story of their future. They are different to the rest of the drifters. They have a plan. Drifters are "the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family." But Lennie and George have got each other. They have a ritual they go through, a fantasy story which they maybe believe will come true one day. George tells it because he remembers all the words: "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 - ," he's not allowed to finish because Lennie jumps in: "an' live off the fatta the lan',". The most important thing for Lennie seems to be the rabbits which he gets to look after. George uses this as a lever to ensure Lennie doesn't spoil their chances with the new boss by opening his mouth. ...read more.


The swamper tells them Curley is newly married, and in the old man's opinion, the wife is a tart. George senses there is going to be trouble. It's then that Steinbeck introduces Curley's wife, and another character, Slim, who she fancies. Lennie is instantly besotted. All he can keep saying is: "She's purty." The friends fear there will be a problem, and Lennie asks to leave but George insists they have to stay to get some money. Slim is an interesting character, and Steinbeck gives him the most detailed description of all, from his crushed Stetson hat to his ageless hatchet face and his hands, "large and lean, were as delicate in their action as those of a temple dancer". He used those hands to drown four pups from his dog's new litter, so Lennie begs George to ask him for a puppy. Another farmhand, Carlson, suggests giving one of them to the swamper, to replace his dog which is smelly and old. The chapter, which is almost like a scene from a play, ends with them going to eat their supper, but not before they are upset once more by Curley, still looking for his new wife. George has taken an instant dislike to "the angry little man". Francesca Gosling ...read more.

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