Of Mice and Men
by John Steinbeck
Of Mice and Men Dreams, Hopes, and Plans Quotes
How we cite our 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.
"I remember about the rabbits, George."
"The hell with the rabbits. That's all you can ever remember is them rabbits." (1.18-19)
Not mice, not chickens, not cats: rabbits. All of Lennie's future is wrapped up in rabbits. On the one hand, it's nice to have a concrete goal. On the other hand, this is about as unrealistic for him as it would be if George wanted to become president. (In the meantime, Lennie, try this Tumblr.)
"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)
Some dreams involve a farm of one's own; some dreams involve "cathouses" and "pool rooms." Of course, George is just lashing out. All he really wants is Lennie. Awww.
"O.K. Someday—we're gonna get the jack together and we're gonna have a little house and a couple of acres an' a cow and some pigs and—"
"An' live off the fatta the lan'," Lennie shouted. "An' have rabbits. Go on, George! Tell about what we're gonna have in the garden and about the rabbits in the cages and about the rain in the winter and the stove, and how thick the cream is on the milk like you can hardly cut it. Tell about that George."
"Why'n't you do it yourself? You know all of it."
"No…you tell it. It ain't the same if I tell it. Go on…George. How I get to tend the rabbits." (1.119-123)
The farm might as well be Lennie's bedtime story, complete with his "you skipped the parts about the rabbits, daddy!" When we encounter the dream farm this way, we're primed to recognize that it's never going to be a reality—but at this points, it's not clear whether the characters know.