Of Mice and Men
by John Steinbeck
Of Mice and Men Chapter 2 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.
The boss pointed a playful finger at Lennie. "He ain't much of a talker, is he?"
"No, he ain't, but he's sure a hell of a good worker. Strong as a bull."
Lennie smiled to himself. "Strong as a bull," he repeated.
George scowled at him, and Lennie dropped his head in shame at having forgotten. (2.35-38)
Lennie is all brawn, and no brains—which, in Of Mice and Men, is a pretty dangerous combination. Of course, the opposite is true, too. You can't say that Curley is all brains, but he's definitely smarter than a lot of the ranchhands—smarter and smaller. Either way, you're out of luck. (Unless you're Slim.)
The swamper considered… "Well . . . tell you what. Curley’s like a lot of little guys. He hates big guys. He’s alla time picking scraps with big guys. Kind of like he’s mad at ‘em because he ain’t a big guy. You seen little guys like that, ain’t you? Always scrappy?" (2.91)
And here we are: Curley, who's makes his weakness into a strength. He's not "strong as a bull" like Lennie, but he's "scrappy." And in a match between slow, brute strength and scrappy wiliness, our money's on the wily one.
"Whyn't you get Candy to shoot his old dog and give him one of the pups to raise up? I can smell that dog a mile away. Got no teeth, damn near blind, can't eat. Candy feeds him milk. He can't chew nothing else." (2.193)
Carlson is awfully quick to suggest shooting Candy's dog. We wonder if Carlson will be so enthusiastic about being shot when he's the one with no teeth and no eyesight? (Actually, given the way life is on the ranch, he just might be.)