Of Mice and Men
by John Steinbeck
Of Mice and Men George Milton Quotes
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.
"That ranch we're goin' to is right down there about a quarter mile. We're gonna go in an' see the boss. Now, look—I'll give him the work tickets, but you ain't gonna say a word. You jus' stand there and don't say nothing. If he finds out what a crazy bastard you are, we won't get no job, but if he sees ya work before he hears ya talk, we're set." (1.44)
Lennie may be a good worker, but is it really discrimination not to want to hire a "crazy bastard," or is it just good sense? We think it might just be good sense.
George patted a wrinkle out of his bed, and sat down. "[The boss gave] the stable buck hell?" he asked.
"Sure. Ya see the stable buck's a nigger."
"Yeah. Nice fella too. Got a crooked back where a horse kicked him. The boss gives him hell when he's mad. But the stable buck don't give a damn about that. He reads a lot. Got books in his room." (2.15-17)
Prejudice keeps Crooks isolated—but, by telling us that he "read a lot," Steinbeck seems to be suggesting that there's more to him than just skin color. It's a shame that none of the other characters—except maybe Lennie—seem to see that.