Chapters 1 & 2

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  • Chapter 1 Symbol
  • The rabbits are a symbol of Lennie and George's future goals. When their long terms aspiration becomes reality they have a shared dream of buying their own farm, and living off "the fatta the lan'." With Lennie's love of small soft things, he became attachted to the idea of tending rabbits, and mentions it frequently throughout the novel, and the idea becomes a symbol of Lennie himself in a way, and by the end of the book Lennie is very similar to a rabbit.
  • Chapter 1 Theme
  • George and Lennie have a peculiar and unexpected friendship. Lennie who has a mental disability and is simple minded and childlike, which can often frustrate his intelligent and compassionate companion. George, when blowing off steam, sometimes talks of a life without Lennie where he would be free to do whatever he wanted, but when Lennie responds that he could run away, George takes back his statement, because he has a soft spot for Lennie, and they have a developed mutual need for each other after spending so long together.
  • Chapter 1 Character
  • Lennie Small is essentially a young boy stuck in a large man's body. He has a child like innocence, and instinct, and doesn't realize his powerful strength or the person he appears at first to be. Lennie is described as "a huge man, shapeless of face, with large, pale eyes, with wide, sloping shoulders". Despite his intimidating exterior, Lennie is kindhearted, and would never intentionally hurt anything, but he can loose control of himself when he is feeling strong emotions, especially fear and anger. Lennie's morals can get lost when he's caught up in these moment, and although he will realize he's acted badly afterwards, he will only really care if it prevents his dreams for the future, and will quickly forget if he doesn't try to remember.
  • Chapter 2 Symbol
  • The seemingly common playing cards symbolize George's high level of intelligence for his societal level, his strength of focus and planning, and his to inability remain doing monotonous activities. This is shown when he repetitively picks up the cards to study them, and suggests group games. They also show how most everything in life, particularly George and Lennie's, is in the end, just up to chance, and how their uncontrollable, unpredictable future is very similar to a game of cards.
  • In chapter 2 George and Lennie meet an old swamper named Candy. The slow moving, elderly man seems kinder, more friendly and genuine than most working men at that time. The swamper informs the newcomers about himsel and the other people on the ranch, along with their new job's routine and common activity. This is all in an attempt to build trust and a friendship, because Candy, with his age has become more of an outcast, and desires any friendly conversation he can get.
  • Chapter 2 Theme
  • Chapter 2 Character
  • Slim is the ranch's "jerkline skinner", he is described as "a tall man" with an ageless face who "moved with a majesty only achieved by royalty and master craftsmen." Slim was "the prince of the ranch" and "there was a gravity in his manner and a quiet so profound that all talk stopped when he spoke. His authority was so great that his word was taken on any subject, be it politics or love." The skinner's "ear heard more than was said to him, and his slow speech had overtones not of thought, but of understanding beyond thought."
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