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"What you want of a dead mouse, anyways?"
"I could pet it with my thumb while we walked along," said Lennie. (1.36-37)
First, gross. Second, Lennie doesn't seem to have the same hang-ups about death as other people. His mental disability makes him closer to an animal than to a human—which makes us think that Steinbeck is saying that the difference between men and beasts is more of a continuum than a sharp divide.
George said softly, "—I think I knowed from the very first. I think I knowed we'd never do her. He usta like to hear about it so much I got to thinking maybe we would." (5.78)
It turns out that dreams, hopes, and plans aren't worth all that much when you know they'll never come true in the first place. But maybe George clung to their shared dream because it helped him schelp along through a rather tough life. Otherwise, why even bother?