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.
[He] walked heavily, dragging his feet a little, way a bear drags his paws. His arms did not swing at his sides, but hung loosely. (1.4)
Should we keep count? This is instance #1 of Lennie being compared to an animal—a bear, no less: a massive, occasionally violent creature.
Lennie dabbled his big paw in the water and wiggled his fingers so the water arose in little splashes; rings widened across the pool o the other side and came back again. Lennie watched them go. "Look, George. Look what I done." (1.9)
Lennie doesn't get hands—he gets "paws," and he's fascinated with how those paws can affect the natural world. It's also as though, like an animal, he doesn't quite understand cause-and-effect.
"What you want of a dead mouse, anyways?"
"I could pet it with my thumb while we walked along," said Lennie. (1.36-37)
First, gross. Second, Lennie doesn't seem to have the same hang-ups about death as other people. His mental disability makes him closer to an animal than to a human—which makes us think that Steinbeck is saying that the difference between men and beasts is more of a continuum than a sharp divide.