Of Mice and Men
by John Steinbeck
Of Mice and Men Chapter 3 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.
Lennie smiled with this bruised mouth. "I didn't want no trouble," he said. He walked toward the door, but just before he came to it, he turned back. "George?"
"What you want?"
"I can still tend the rabbits, George?"
"Sure. You ain't done nothing wrong."
"I di'n't mean no harm, George." (3.268-272)
Um, okay. Lennie may have meant no harm, but he still has a tendency to kill the animals in his care. So, maybe "doing no harm" isn't the best criteria for putting a man in charge of a warren full of rabbits.
"…If I was bright, if I was even a little bit smart, I'd have my own little place, an' I'd be bringin' in my own crops, 'stead of doin' all the work and not getting what comes up outa the ground." (3.11)
George seems to think that he could achieve the elusive American Dream of having his "own little place" if he were just a little smarter. But from what we see, it has nothing to with smarts and everything to do with the odds being stacked against him. If everyone could achieve the American Dream, would it still be a dream?
Lennie watched him with wide eyes, and old Candy watched him too. Lennie said softly, "We could live offa the fatta the lan'."
"Sure," said George. "All kin's a vegetables in the garden, and if we want a little whisky we can sell a few eggs or something, or some milk. We'd jus' live there. We'd belong there. There wouldn't be no more runnin' round the country and gettin' fed by a Jap cook. No, sir, we'd have our own place where we belonged and not sleep in no bunk house." (3.202-203)
Casual racism aside, notice that George and Lennie's little version of the American Dream includes a kind of masculine domesticity—no girls allowed.