Of Mice and Men
by John Steinbeck
Of Mice and Men Violence 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.
"Where we goin', George?"
The little man jerked down the brim of his hat and scowled over at Lennie. "So you forgot that awready, did you? I gotta tell you again, do I? Jesus Christ, you're a crazy bastard!"
"I forgot," Lennie said softly. (1.14-16)
Simmer down, George. Almost as soon as we meet him, George is stomping around the novel flinging verbal abuse as Lennie. Does Lennie acknowledge this as a kind of violence, or is he generally unaffected by it?
Lennie hesitated, backed away, looked wildly at the brush line as though he contemplated running for his freedom. George said coldly, "You gonna give me that mouse or do I have to sock you?" (1.70)
Not much TLC here. But does Lennie respond to reason and coaxing? Or is violence the only way George can get a response out of him?
Lennie looked sadly up at him. "They was so little," he said apologetically. "I’d pet ‘em, and pretty soon they bit my fingers and I pinched their heads a little and then they was dead—because they was so little. I wish’t we’d get the rabbits pretty soon, George. They ain’t so little." (1.79)
Hm. On a second look, it doesn't seem like these mice deaths are so accidental after all. They take place when Lennie retaliates against them by pinching their heads. He might not mean to kill them, but he definitely means to hurt them.