Of Mice and Men
by John Steinbeck
Of Mice and Men Chapter 1 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph) Though Steinbeck did not originally include chapter numbers with the text, most editions are broken into six sections, based on day and time of day: Thursday evening = Chapter 1; Friday day = Chapter 2; Friday evening = Chapter 3; Saturday night = Chapter 4; Sunday afternoon = Chapter 5; Sunday evening = Chapter 6.
George looked sharply at him. "What'd you take outa that pocket?"
"Ain't a thing in my pocket," Lennie said cleverly.
"I know there ain't. You got it in your hand…" (1.25-27)
We hope you had a good chuckle, because Lennie isn't actually being "clever" at all. He's like a toddler playing hide and seek who puts a bowl over his head: if he can't see you, you can't see him. Precious moments, right?
"If you don' want me I can g off in the hills an' find a cave. I can go away any time."
"No—look! I was jus' foolin', Lennie. 'Cause I want you to stay with me." (1.103-104)
Poor Lennie almost literally offers to go jump in a lake if George doesn't want him anymore, but George doesn't really want the chance to stay in a whorehouse for as long as he wants. Hanging out with Lennie is better than a gallon of whisky any night.
"Well, we ain't got any," George exploded. "Whatever we ain't got, that's what you want. God a'mighty, if I was alone I could live so easy. I could go get a job an' work, an' no trouble. No mess at all, and when the end of the month come I could take my fifty bucks and go into town and get whatever I want. Why, I could stay in a cathouse all night. I could eat any place I want, hotel or any place, and order any damn thing I could think of. An' I could do all that every damn month. Get a gallon of whisky, or set in a pool room and play cards or shoot pool." Lennie knelt and looked over the fire at the angry George. And Lennie's face was drawn in with terror. "An' whatta I got," George went on furiously. "I got you! You can't keep a job and you lose me ever' job I get. Jus' keep me shovin' all over the country all the time." (1.89)
During this little temper tantrum George basically says that he wishes he were alone so he could go to as many whorehouses as he wanted. You know, just like we sometimes wished we lived alone so we could eat chocolate cake at 2AM without anyone judging us.