Study Guide

Of Mice and Men Chapter 6

By John Steinbeck

Chapter 6

  • Lennie sits by the deep pool near the river, waiting for George and patting himself on the back a little for remembering that he was supposed to wait there.
  • He's thinking about how much trouble he causes George, saying, "If George don't want me…I'll go away. I'll go away."
  • Just then, who should he conjure out of the dark corners of his dull mind, but his dead Aunt Clara?
  • "Aunt Clara" lights into Lennie: she accuses him of never thinking of George, even though George is always so nice to him. "Nice" activities include saving him the bigger piece of pie and giving him all the ketchup, when there is any.
  • Aunt Clara gets grumpier, listing off all the boozing and women George could have had without Lennie.
  • While Lennie whines that he's always trying, Aunt Clara announces he never had any intention of leaving George the hell alone. Aunt Clara swears a surprising amount. Her grammar also leaves something to be desired.
  • Then, Aunt Clara disappears, only to be replaced by a very large and angry rabbit that (not surprisingly) also has Lennie's voice.
  • If you thought the dead aunt was bad, the scary, mind-reading rabbit reaches into Lennie and hits him where it hurts: it scoffs at Lennie's hope to tend to rabbits: he "ain't fit to lick the boots of no rabbit."
  • Lennie, rather than pointing out that rabbits don't tend to wear boots, just waits for more.
  • The rabbit suggests that George will beat Lennie with a stick and then leave Lennie: "He's gonna leave you, ya crazy bastard. He's gonna leave ya all alone."
  • As Lennie covers his ears in agony and cries out for George, the rabbit (according to the narrator) scuttles back into Lennie's brain, and George finally appears from the brush.
  • Lennie is thrilled to see George and begs him to give him hell, so that things can get back to normal.
  • George is strangely quiet even when Lennie tells him that he has done yet another bad thing.
  • When George refuses to give him hell, Lennie asks George to tell him the dream-farm story again
  • George takes out Carlson's Luger and unsnaps the safety. He can hear Curley and the other men getting closer … closer … closer …
  • As George tells the story, Lennie adds his usual details about tending rabbits and living off the fat of the land. George tells Lennie to look across the river while he narrates, like a kid saying, "You forgot the part when the alien space monsters come!"
  • As George is readying his courage, Lennie says, "Le's do it now. Le's get that place now."
  • George agrees they've got to do it now, and as Lennie continues to look over the bank, envisioning the farm, George puts a gun to the back of Lennie's head and pulls the trigger.
  • Lennie lies still in the sand, without quivering, dead.

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  • Ugh, Steinbeck. Could you be any more depressing?
  • The other men hear the shot and come running. They think that Lennie had Carlson's gun and that George wrestled it away from him.
  • But Slim understands. He comes over to George quietly and sits close to him, saying simply, "Never you mind…A guy got to sometimes."
  • As the other men probe George for the nasty details, Slim intervenes. He tells George the two of them should go for a drink, and as he helps him up adds, "You hadda, George. I swear you hadda. Come on with me." The two leave.
  • Carlson looks at the others and says, "Now what the hell ya suppose is eatin' them two guys?"