Of Mice and Men
by John Steinbeck
Of Mice and Men Weakness 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.
[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?
[George] heard Lennie’s whimpering cry and wheeled about. "Blubberin’ like a baby! Jesus Christ! A big guy like you!" Lennie’s lip quivered and tears started in his eyes. "Aw, Lennie!" George put his hand on Lennie’s shoulder. "I ain’t takin’ it away jus’ for meanness. That mouse ain’t fresh, Lennie; and besides, you’ve broke it pettin’ it. You get another mouse that’s fresh and I’ll let you keep it a little while." (1.76)
Words like "whimpering" and "blubbering" aren't very dignified: Lennie isn't weeping like a man; he's whining like a baby. Is this weakness sympathetic—or just pathetic?
The boss pointed a playful finger at Lennie. "He ain't much of a talker, is he?"
"No, he ain't, but he's sure a hell of a good worker. Strong as a bull."
Lennie smiled to himself. "Strong as a bull," he repeated.
George scowled at him, and Lennie dropped his head in shame at having forgotten. (2.35-38)
Lennie is all brawn, and no brains—which, in Of Mice and Men, is a pretty dangerous combination. Of course, the opposite is true, too. You can't say that Curley is all brains, but he's definitely smarter than a lot of the ranchhands—smarter and smaller. Either way, you're out of luck. (Unless you're Slim.)