Of Mice and Men
How we cite our quotes:
"Tha's good," he said. "You drink some, George. You take a good big drink." He smiled happily. (1.7)
George has just reamed Lennie out for drinking too fast, but Lennie is so innocent that he doesn't even get mad. He just smiles "happily" when George takes a drink. From this perspective, innocence doesn't look too bad.
George looked sharply at him. "What'd you take outa that pocket?"
"Ain't a thing in my pocket," Lennie said cleverly.
"I know there ain't. You got it in your hand…" (1.25-27)
We hope you had a good chuckle, because Lennie isn't actually being "clever" at all. He's like a toddler playing hide and seek who puts a bowl over his head: if he can't see you, you can't see him. Precious moments, right?
NARRATION. And these shelves were loaded with little articles, soap and talcum powder, razors and those Western magazines ranch men love to read and scoff at and secretly believe. (2.1)
These magazines are like Maxim or GQ: they present an idealized version of masculinity that only an idiot—or an innocent—would take literally. So, are all these hardboiled ranchhands really innocent, in some way?