Of Mice and Men
by John Steinbeck
Of Mice and Men Lennie Small Quotes
"…You go on get outta my room. I ain’t wanted in the bunk house, and you ain’t wanted in my room."
"Why ain’t you wanted?" Lennie asked.
"’Cause I’m black…" (4.10-11)
Lennie can’t fathom racial prejudice. We’ve already seen he doesn’t have a lot of the societal niceties down (like when to pet girls and when not to pet girls), but it’s actually pretty interesting that Lennie doesn’t think of Crooks as being different from himself. Remember, Lennie is more in touch with the natural side of things than the "civilized" side of things, so he doesn’t accept the "institution" of racism.
[Lennie] said gently, "George… I ain’t got mine. I musta lost it." He looked down at the ground in despair.
"You never had none, you crazy bastard. I got both of ‘em here. Think I’d let you carry your own work card?"
Lennie grinned with relief. (1.22-24)
George looks out for Lennie, so Lennie is definitely stronger with George around. But is the same true for George? Or does Lennie just bring him down?
Lennie dabbled his big paw in the water and wiggled his fingers so the water arose in little splashes; rings widened across the pool o the other side and came back again. Lennie watched them go. "Look, George. Look what I done." (1.9)
Lennie doesn't get hands—he gets "paws," and he's fascinated with how those paws can affect the natural world. It's also as though, like an animal, he doesn't quite understand cause-and-effect.