Of Mice And Men Chapters 3&4

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  • In this chapter, Candy gets isolated by his peers; when Carlson suggests that he shoot Candy’s old dog, nobody speaks up against it. To them, he’s just an old dog who “don’t have no fun, and stinks to beat hell.” (p.45) Candy protests, insisting that he’s had this dog since he was only a puppy, that maybe the gunshot will hurt him – but nobody will come to his aid. Not even Slim will offer any support, and Candy’s dog is shot that evening. This leaves Candy with no companion; he is alone, powerless, and afraid of the future.
  • Theme: Isolation
  • Symbolism: The Pulp Magazine
  • In chapter three, a man named Whit comes excitedly into the bunkhouse with a seemingly unassuming pulp magazine in hand. A man by the name of William Tenner, who had worked on the farm before, had gotten a short letter published in this magazine. To the reader, and even to Slim, this may not seem incredibly important, but it gives Whit a sense of comfort – it is a glimmer of hope that they can all make it off of the farm and have their name recognized, even if it’s just in a small review in a magazine.
  • Character: Slim
  • In chapter 2, Slim is described as practically perfect -- tall, ageless, and an expert in his job. In chapter 3, while Slim and George are having a conversation, the reader sees that this is all true. He was “quiet and receptive” (p. 39) while George spoke of his companionship with Lennie and the troubles that came along with it. He is non-judgmental and fair and George, as well as the reader, senses that he is a figure of intelligence and empathy who will not make fun of Lennie, or take advantage of him.
  • Theme: Isolation
  • In this chapter, we are introduced to the black stable buck, Crooks, who is isolated by his skin color. Rather than making Crooks reach out, isolation has made him somewhat hostile. He pushes away anyone who dares attempt to become close to him, though he desperately longs for a companion. However, when Crooks hears of George, Lennie and Candy’s plan for the future, he seems to brighten – he suggests that he could work for his keep. When Curley’s wife comes in and calls him a “nigger, dum-dum and a lousy ol’ sheep” (p. 78) Crooks seems to remember the harsh reality of his situation, and he retreats back into his sad, solitary life.
  • Symbol: Light and Dark
  • Throughout this novel, light and dark are used as a common theme as well as setting the tone of a particular scene. Light is used to symbolize the hopes and dreams of disadvantaged characters (such as Crooks, Candy's Wife and Candy) whereas the darkness symbolizes death, fear, or the end of a characters' dreams. In Crook's room, "a small electric globe [throws] a meager yellow light" (p. 67); the use of the word 'meager' shows the reader that there is little light in Crooks' room. This shows how Crooks has little to no hope when it comes to changing his current situation. However, when Lennie tells him he's "seen [Crooks'] light," (p. 68) it implies that Lennie sees Crooks for more than just a black, crippled stable buck.
  • In chapter 4, we are introduced to the stable buck, Crooks, who is named so due to the crook in his back given to him by a horse. Crooks has been at the farm longer than most workers; being crippled and black, he doesn’t have many options open for him elsewhere. Crooks is intellectual, and keeps the few personal items he has neat and tidy. He confides in Lennie stories of his past, as he is sure that the large man will not recount the stories to anyone else. Being black, he lives alone on the ranch, separate from the other workers. In his isolation, Crooks has become bitter, and immediately suspicious of any positive human interaction he receives, though he is desperate for it.
  • Character: Crooks
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