Chapter 1and 6 Of mice and men
By minhhuynh, Updated
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During chapter 1, the Salinas River and the surrounding scenery is very symbolic of the life and dream of George and Lennie. The scenery represents their quest for freedom and living off the land as independent farmers. The Salinas River represents a "safe place" for Lennie to go to in which George instructs to go "hide in the brush" (pg.15) when he gets in trouble.
In chapter one, it is quite obvious that George and Lennie have a distinct dream, a dream of owning a farm where they can "live off the fatta of lan" (pg.14). Lennie and George obviously have been together for quite some time to share the same dream since Lennie, the inattentive one, remembers the dream by heart, whereas he forgets the simplest of things like where they are headed to. This dream is also identical to the rural inhabitant dream when agriculture made up 50% of the economy. Lennie's main interpretation of this dream however is he can tend rabbits, petting them and feeding them as pets. This gives him a sense of security and safeness from doing other bad things.
In chapter 6, Lennie escapes and arrives at the spot under the sycamores. He starts to hallucinate and sees a giant rabbit, nagging him he has failed and not able to remember to feed the rabbits. “you crazy bastard -- you’d forget ‘em and let ‘em go hungry”(pg.102). Lennie’s bad deed obviously triggers what most dreams end with; failure and trouble. The reality of dreams is similar to what Crooks said, everyone wants to achieve their goal but none can get to it. “I seen too many guys with land in their head. They never get none under their hand”.
When introduced in chapter 1, Lennie is a large, lumbering man who is “shapeless of face” (pg.2) in contrast to his friend, George. He behaves very timidly and like a child, always talking about the “rabbits” and his habit of petting soft things like mice. Unfortunately, Lennie is mentally challenged, having a mind of a child and a short-term memory; “Might jus’ as well spen’ all my time tellin’ you things and then you forget ‘em, and I tell you again”. Having caused a lot of trouble for himself and George in the past, Lennie feels a sense of security when petting soft things like mice but he would always kill them because he is unaware of his abnormal strength; “I’d pet ‘em, and pretty soon they bit my fingers and I pinched their heads a little and then they was dead --- because they were so little.”
In chapter 6, the water snake slides across the pond and gets eaten by a heron. Another water snake comes by and slides across the pond. This cycle represents the endless cycle of George and Lennie. George and Lennie find a ranch and work to make a stake for their dream but Lennie causes trouble and they both are forced to run away, then the whole cycle repeats itself. If the endless cycle of events is not broken, George and Lennie will make no progress towards their dream of owning a farm.
In "Of Mice and Men", George Milton is characterized as "small and quick, dark of face, with restless eyes and sharp, strong features"(pg.2). As someone of the working class, every part of his body was “defined: small, strong hand, slender arms, a thin and bony nose” (pg.2). He travels with and cares for Lennie, even though he’d complain his life would have been much better without Lennie. George is of course devoted to Lennie and treats him with dignity, no matter how dumb he is. If George did not have Lennie, his behavior would not have been enlightened and strengthened by the desire to protect Lennie and make progress towards their dream.
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