Of mice and Men Chapter Summary

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Of Mice and Men Chapter summary


George and Lennie are two migrant American labourers. Lennie is huge and very strong but has the intellect of a child. George is a small but clever man.

Both men arrive in a clearing beside the Salinas River one evening. They had meant to arrive at a ranch where they were to work by this time, but their bus driver had tricked them into getting off the bus too early, and they had to walk a long way.

While they sit in the clearing, George instructs Lennie not to say a word when the Boss talks to them the following day, because he fears they won't be hired if Lennie is suspected of being stupid. Lennie promises not to say anything.

While the two men talk, we learn a little about their past. They had to flee the town of Weed after Lennie had got into some trouble there.

The two men set up camp in the clearing. They heat up some beans to eat, and then they continue their conversation. During this conversation, it is revealed that in Weed, Lennie had tried to feel a girl's dress, and she had cried out that he was raping her. George and Lennie had to hide in an irrigation ditch to escape the wrath of the townspeople. Also, Lennie and George talk about their great dream that some day they will buy a farm and settle down together.

After talking for a while, both men fall asleep.



The next afternoon, George and Lennie arrive at the ranch and are ushered into their bunkhouse by an old man, whose name we later learn is Candy. He works as a swamper, mopping the floors, and has lost his right hand in some accident. He tells George and Lennie that the Boss is angry about their failure to turn up on time, but also says that generally the Boss is not a bad man.

When the Boss arrives to meet them, George explains why they are late, and the Boss seems to understand although he is not happy. The Boss asks George and Lennie's particulars and writes them down, but he is suspicious about George, whom he thinks is tricking Lennie out of his pay. George lies to the Boss, telling him that Lennie is his retarded cousin. The Boss is satisfied, and tells them to go out to work after dinner.

After the Boss has left, George talks to Lennie, who had forgotten his vow not to say anything to the Boss. George chastises him for this failure. They converse a little more, until George finds old Candy eavesdropping on them. He is worried because Candy now knows that Lennie is not really George's retarded cousin, but Candy reassures George that he will not tell anybody else.

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Just then, Curley, the Boss' son enters the bunkhouse, and rudely asks where his father is. After Candy tells him, Curley notices George and Lennie. For some reason he immediately hates Lennie, and almost starts a fight. When Curley leaves, Candy explains that Curley, being rather diminutive in size, hates big guys.

However, Candy warns that Curley is dangerous despite his size, because he knows how to box. Candy also remarks that Curley's behaviour seems to have worsened since his marriage.

George is very worried by the encounter with Curley, and sees trouble ahead. He reminds Lennie ...

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