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"I’ll try to catch him," said Curley. His eyes passed over the new men and he stopped. He glanced coldly at George and then at Lennie. His arms gradually bent at the elbows and his hands closed into fists. He stiffened and went into a slight crouch. His glance was at once calculating and pugnacious. Lennie squirmed under the look and shifted his feet nervously. Curley stepped gingerly close to him. "You the new guys the old man was waitin’ for?" (2.74)
We get the feeling that, for Curley, challenging the new guys to a fight is almost like friending them on Facebook: it's just what he does when he meets new people. To be fair, he was a professional boxer; it's probably hard to let go of old habits. Especially violent ones.
"For two bits I'd shove out of here. If we can get jus' a few dollars in the poke we'll shove off and go up the American River and pan gold. We can make maybe a couple of dollars a day there, and we might hit a pocket." (2.166)
What George fantasizes about here is a Grade A American Dream: heading out West to pan for gold, and striking it rich. Too bad that's only ever happened to maybe a handful of people in the entire country. The people who really got rich from the gold rush were the shopkeepers: it's not as romantic, but everyone needs to buy shovels and boots.
…he moved with a majesty only achieved by royalty and master craftsman. He was a jerkline skinner, the prince of the ranch, capable of driving ten, sixteen, even twenty mules with a single line to the leaders. He was capable of killing a fly on the wheeler's butt with a bull whip without touching the mule. There was a gravity in his manner and a quiet so profound that all talk stopped when he spoke, His authority was so great that his word was taken on any subject, be it politics or love. This was Slim, the jerkline skinner. (2.170)
Slim, baby, you're our American Dream: the cowboy, sheriff, and Marlboro Man without the nasty lung cancer all in one. Is it getting warm in here, or is it just us?