Of Mice and Men
by John Steinbeck
Of Mice and Men Isolation 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.
"Well, we ain't got any," George exploded. "Whatever we ain't got, that's what you want. God a'mighty, if I was alone I could live so easy. I could go get a job an' work, an' no trouble. No mess at all, and when the end of the month come I could take my fifty bucks and go into town and get whatever I want. Why, I could stay in a cathouse all night. I could eat any place I want, hotel or any place, and order any damn thing I could think of. An' I could do all that every damn month. Get a gallon of whisky, or set in a pool room and play cards or shoot pool." Lennie knelt and looked over the fire at the angry George. And Lennie's face was drawn in with terror. "An' whatta I got," George went on furiously. "I got you! You can't keep a job and you lose me ever' job I get. Jus' keep me shovin' all over the country all the time." (1.89)
During this little temper tantrum George basically says that he wishes he were alone so he could go to as many whorehouses as he wanted. You know, just like we sometimes wished we lived alone so we could eat chocolate cake at 2AM without anyone judging us.
"If you don' want me I can g off in the hills an' find a cave. I can go away any time."
"No—look! I was jus' foolin', Lennie. 'Cause I want you to stay with me." (1.103-104)
Poor Lennie almost literally offers to go jump in a lake if George doesn't want him anymore, but George doesn't really want the chance to stay in a whorehouse for as long as he wants. Hanging out with Lennie is better than a gallon of whisky any night.
"I said what stake you got in this guy? You takin' his pay away from him?"
"No, 'course I ain't. Why you think I'm sellin' him out?"
"Well, I never seen one guy take so much trouble for another guy. I just like to know what your interest is." (2.45-47)
The Boss is so confused by George and Lennie's relationship that he can't stop trying to figure out what the angle is. For some reason it doesn't occur to him that George just might not want to be alone.