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"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?
"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."
Lennie leaned eagerly toward him. "Le's go, George. Le's get outta here. It's mean here."
"We gotta stay," George said shortly. "Shut up now. The guys'll be comin' in." (2.166-168)
George might have fantasies of panning for gold, but he's a realist. The freedom to starve while chasing a fool's dream is not the kind of freedom he wants.
"And it'd be our own, an' nobody could can us. If we don't like a guy we can say, 'Get the hell out,' and by God he's got to do it. An' if a fren' come along, why we'd have an extra bunk, an' we'd say, 'Why don't you spen' the night?' An' by God he would." (3.209)
For Lennie and George, a key part of the dream farm is the freedom to let their friends stay with them. Wonder if they'll get those little guest soaps and matching towel sets?