Of Mice and Men
by John Steinbeck
Of Mice and Men Freedom and Confinement 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.
"George—why ain't we goin' on to the ranch and get some supper? They got supper at the ranch."
George rolled on his side. "No reason at all for you. I like it here. Tomorra we're gonna go to work. I seen thrashin' machines on the way down. That means we'll be bucking grain bags, bustin' a gut. Tonight I'm gonna lay right here and look up. I like it." (1.60-61)
Lying around in a field looking up at the stars with your best friend by your side sounds like a pretty good definition of freedom to us.
"I wish I could put you in a cage with about a million mice an' let you have fun." His anger left him suddenly. He looked across the fire at Lennie's anguished face, and then he looked ashamedly at the flames. (1.89)
Confess: this is a wee bit creepy, because George is essentially saying that he'd like to lock Lennie up. But, with a million mice to pet, would Lennie really experience it as confinement? Or would it be the best type of freedom—the freedom to do exactly what he wants all day?
When the sound of the footsteps had died away, George turned on Lennie. "So you wasn't gonna say a word. You was gonna leave your big flapper shut and leave me do the talkin'. Damn near lost us the job."
Lennie stared helplessly at his hands. "I forgot, George."
"Yea, you forgot. You always forget, an' I got to talk you out of it." He sat down heavily on the bunk. "Now he's got his eye on us. Now we got to be careful and not make no slips. You keep your big flapper shut after this." He fell morosely silent. (2.56-59)
Loose lips sink ships… and just might get Lennie (if not George) thrown in jail, or worse—might lose them the opportunity to work the job that will help them buy their little bit of freedom.