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"That ranch we're goin' to is right down there about a quarter mile. We're gonna go in an' see the boss. Now, look—I'll give him the work tickets, but you ain't gonna say a word. You jus' stand there and don't say nothing. If he finds out what a crazy bastard you are, we won't get no job, but if he sees ya work before he hears ya talk, we're set." (1.44)
Lennie may be a good worker, but is it really discrimination not to want to hire a "crazy bastard," or is it just good sense? We think it might just be good sense.
"Where we goin', George?"
The little man jerked down the brim of his hat and scowled over at Lennie. "So you forgot that awready, did you? I gotta tell you again, do I? Jesus Christ, you're a crazy bastard!"
"I forgot," Lennie said softly. (1.14-16)
Simmer down, George. Almost as soon as we meet him, George is stomping around the novel flinging verbal abuse as Lennie. Does Lennie acknowledge this as a kind of violence, or is he generally unaffected by it?
Lennie hesitated, backed away, looked wildly at the brush line as though he contemplated running for his freedom. George said coldly, "You gonna give me that mouse or do I have to sock you?" (1.70)
Not much TLC here. But does Lennie respond to reason and coaxing? Or is violence the only way George can get a response out of him?