Of Mice and Men Flashcard Example #26391

The beginning of the novel begins with a rich description of physical setting. Cite examples of 3 uses of descriptive language. Explain the effect on the mood created by Steinbeck by beginning the narrative with this description.
Answers will vary
“The water is warm too, for it has slipped twinkling over the yellow sands in the sunlight before
reaching the narrow pool.” (Pg. 1)
“On the sandy bank under the trees the leaves lie deep and so crisp that a lizard makes a great
skittering if he runs among them.” (Pg. 1)
“There is a path through the willows and among the sycamores, a path beaten hard by boys coming
down from the ranches to swim in the deep pool, and beaten hard by tramps who come wearily down
from the highway in the evening to jungle-up near water.” (Pags. 1-2)
With this opening setting, what is Steinbeck trying to suggest about this area by the Salinas River?
The imagery at the beginning of the book suggests that the area is a place of peace and rest. The idea that men and boys seek this place for comfort suggests that the Salinas River is a sanctuary.
Copy the sentence that suggests that men as well as other forms of life seek out this place.
“… and beaten hard by tramps who come
wearily down from the highway in the evening to jungle-up near water.” (Pg.2)
Of Mice and Men is set during the Great Depression of the 1930s. During this era homeless men called hobos traveled across the United States and would settle (“jungle up”) in camps at night that were referred to as “hobo jungles.” Compare and contrast the two men who come to the pool in the clearing.
The two men who come into the clearing are similar in the way in which they are dressed and what they carry with them. For example, the two men are “dressed in denim trousers and in denim coats with brass buttons.” (Pg 2) They also both carry blanket rolls with them. Physically, the men are very different. One man is “small and quick, dark of face, with restless eyes and sharp, strong features.”
(Pg.2) The other man is huge and fair-skinned.
What can you infer about these two men and their relationship based on their descriptions?
The smaller man is the leader. Because he is described as “small and quick” with “restless eyes,” the reader can infer that the man is determined and the one navigating their way
through the area. The reader can also infer that the other man is more absent-minded and slow because he “nearly ran over” the other man when he stopped in the path, dragged his feet and flung himself on the ground when they stopped. (Pg.3)
Why does the use of animal imagery to describe the larger man (Lennie) suggest?
Quote two examples in your answer.
Answers will vary-
“dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws” (Pg. 2); “drank with long gulps, snorting into the water like a horse” (Pg. 3)
Why does George tell Lennie not to drink the water? Why might this seem like an unusual instruction to give a man who has spent part of his adult life traveling the country?
George tells Lennie not to drink the water because it looks “kinda scummy.” (Pg. 3) The reader learns
that Lennie was sick the night before from drinking the water. George tells Lennie that unless the water is moving, it probably is not healthy water to drink. We can assume that if the two men are traveling across part of the United States, they have spent much of their time living off the land. A more aware person would know not to drink from certain bodies of water.
When George gives these instructions about the water to Lennie, he does so “hopelessly.” What inference can you make about why George might feel hopeless when talking to Lennie? From the conversation as the two men repose by the river pool, what do you learn about them?
George feels hopeless because he has probably given the same instructions may times. If we can
assume that Lennie and George have traveled a lot together, we can also assume that there have
been several occasions where George has had to talk to Lennie about the water. George repeats that instructions “hopelessly” because he knows that eventually he will have to give them again.
What does Lennie have in his pocket, and why does he keep it there?
Lennie has a dead mouse in his pocket. He wants to keep it because it is soft and he can touch it as
they are walking.
Describe George’s plan for getting the job at the ranch. What do we learn about Lennie from this plan?
George tells Lennie that he does not want Lennie to speak. George is going to give the boss their work tickets, while Lennie stands in the background. George wants Lennie to be quiet because he is afraid that the boss will not hire them if he knows that Lennie is “a crazy bastard.” (Pg. 6) The reader can infer that Lennie is a hard worker (perhaps because of his size), but he is more likely to say the wrong thing when speaking to people.
George says to Lennie, “God, you’re a lot of trouble. I could get along so easy and so nice if I didn’t have you on my tail. I could live so easy and maybe have a girl.” What does this statement reveal about George’s feeling about Lennie and about George’s own dreams for his life?
George is frustrated with Lennie because the large man requires so much care, so it is understandable that Lennie’s handicap sometimes interfers with their friendship. George’s attitude is
ironic, however, considering that most men in their situation are lonely and lomg for a companion or a friend. We learn that George is the same as most people; he dreams about settling down and getting married, something that most transients are unable to do.
Find an example that shows that Lennie, while limited in mental acuity to fully understand the world around him, is sensitive to George’s feelings and wants to please him.
Answers may vary-Example: While baking beans over the fire, Lennie says how he would like to have ketchup with his supper. This statement provokes George, and he erupts with anger, wishing he could be alone, without having to watch over Lennie. Following the episode, Lennie makes his way closer to George and says, “I was only foolin’, George. I wouldn’t eat none, George. I’d leave it all for you. You could cover your beans with it. I wouldn’t touch none of it.,(Pg.12)
Why does Lennie like for George to tell the story about the ranch they will share some day, even though he knows it by heart himself. Why does George so readily agree to tell it to him, even though he has just gotten angry with Lennie the minute before?
Lennie, having the mentality of a child, is reassured by George’s retelling. George does not mind telling the story because the story reinforces the dreams that the men have and the fact that they have a solid relationship. Lennie likes felling the reassurance that they will look after each other.
Explain the idiom, “live off the fatta the lan.”
To live off the fat of the land implies that the land will offer people whatever they need to survive.
Lennie and George discuss this because they are hopeful that eventually they will be prosperous and will not have to travel and work various, temporary jobs in order to survive.
Why does George tell Lennie to remember the spot where they are camping. What might this conversation foreshadow?
George tells Lennie to remember where they are in case something happens at the ranch. George
specifically suggests that Lennie may get in trouble as he did at a previous job site. This conversation might foreshadow that something bad is going to happen.
The motifs of friendship and loneliness have emerged by the end of the chapter.
Find specific examples of these motifs to quote here.
Examples may vary, but the themes should be specifically recognized. Friendship is a motif that is very prominent throughout the novel. In this first chapter, as George tells Lennie of their future
together, George tells how they are different from other men. Lennie, having heard the story so many times, breaks in and excitedly states, “…I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you…”(Pg. 14) Loneliness is also a main idea, and it is alluded to when George states, “Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place.” (Pg.13) Finally, both men have dreams that they want to achieve. The men dream that
someday they will be able to live prosperously.
Chapter Two also begins with the setting, this time of the bunkhouse where George and Lennie will live with other men. Explain how this contrasts with the setting of Chapter One and further explains the realities of George and Lennie’s lives.
Based on the details Steinbeck uses to describe the bunkhouse, how would you characterize the lives of the men who work on the ranch? Use specific words and explain why those are the right words to describe them.
How does the old man describe the boss?
When the boss is talking to George and Lennie about their work, George speaks both for himself and for Lennie. What does the boss suspect is going on between George and Lennie? What is George’s response? Why does George not let Lennie speak for himself?
Explain the verbal irony in Lennie’s last name.
Who is Curley, and what does it mean when Candy says he is “handy”? What kind of person does Curley seem to be? Use specific references (quotes) from the text to justify your description of him.
Describe the near altercation involving Curley, Lennie, and George. What seems to be the reason Curley acts as he does. How does George feel about Curley? Why might this foreshadow a problem to come?
Why would the old man feel safe that he has “drawn a derogatory statement from George”?
What does the reader learn about Curley’s wife?
What does George warn Lennie about? Where does he tell him to go if there’s any trouble?
After Curley’s wife comes to the bunkhouse looking for Curley, why does George get angry at Lennie?
Explain the foreshadowing that is suggested when Lennie cries out suddenly, “I don’t like this place. This ain’t no nice place, I wanna get outa here.”
Describe Slim by using specific references to the novel. What do the descriptions about Slim indicate about his character?
What happens to Slim’s dog and its puppies? By inference, what might this action suggest about survival as a migrant worker?
Throughout the chapter, Lennie and George are questioned three times about traveling together. Describe the three different encounters and what we learn about the characters through their responses to George’s answer.
What type of man is Carlson? How does he differ from Slim?
How might you compare the relationship between George and Lennie and Candy and his old dog?
This chapter introduces most of the characters who will be significant in Of Mice and Men. How are the characters connected to one another? What have you learned about migrant workers during the Great Depression though the narration and dialogue of this chapter?
What does Slim feel Lennie, and how does he compare him to other men?
Why does George reveal to Slim what happened to them in Weed? What is Slim’s response?
What do George and Lennie talk about when Lennie comes into the house? Link this event to something that happened in Chapter One with the mouse.
Why do you think Steinbeck spends so much time developing the kind of person Lennie is in his narration?
Why does Carlson want to shoot Candy’s dog?
How does Candy react to the pressure to get rid of the dog? Why is the dog important to Candy?
What to Slim and Whit discover in a pulp magazine? What is it about and how is this information important to the group of men?
Steinbeck emphasizes silence several times in this chapter. For example, there is the following narration: “His voice trailed off. It was silent outside. Carlson’s footsteps died away. The silence came into the room. And the silence lasted.”
What does the silence refer to literally and figuratively at this point in the novel? What role does each man play in the silence?
Explain George and Lennie’s work ethic. What information in the text is used to illustrate their work ethic? Explain the idiom “gonna roll up a stake.”
How does the following passage function in the story? Explain.
“She’s gonna make a mess. They’s gonna be a bad mess about her. She’s a jail bait all set on the trigger. That Curley got his work cut out for him. Ranch with a bunch of guys on it ain’t no place for a girl, specially like her.”
Where does Whit invite George and Lennie to go? What type of establishment is it? What is George’s response?
When Curley comes into the bunkhouse, for whom is he looking? When he discovers that Slim is not there, what assumption does he seem to draw? What does this tell you about his relationship with his wife?
When George goes into the litany of their dream ranch, it seems to symbolize both men’s personal Garden of Eden. Lennie, sensitive by nature, shows a violent streak when George mentions cats. What has George suggested, and what does Lennie’s response indicate about the way Lennie tries to solve problems? What might this foreshadow?
Candy overhears the talk about George and Lennie’s dream. What does he suggest?
Candy fears he will be let go from his job as “swamper.” Why? How does this information highlight the power struggle between the weak and the strong?
After George, Lennie, and Candy make a pact not to tell anyone about their plans for a place of their own, Candy makes the following statement: “I ought to of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn’t ought to of let no stranger shoot my dog.” Explain why he thinks this way.
Why does Curley pick on Lennie?
Why do you think George encourages Lennie to fight back when Curley hits him?
What is the setting of this chapter?
Why did George at one time play jokes on Lennie? Why did he stop? What are you learning about the interdependence of George and Lennie?
Throughout the fight there are many animal references. Make a list of references to either Lennie or Curley that connect to what the readers already know about these characters.
How do the descriptions of Curley change throughout the fight?
How does the fight end? How does George intervene with it? Does Lennie seem to understand what happened?
Why will Curley keep quiet about what Lennie did to him and not try to get George and Lennie fired? What does Slim tell Curley he’d better say?
Characterization: At this point, the reader has been introduced to the main characters. Take a moment to characterize each of the following with several descriptive words.
George –
Lennie –
Carlson –
Crooks –
Candy –
The Boss –
Curley –
Curley’s Wife –
Some of the characters have nicknames describing some characteristic about them, such as Slim (thin) and Crooks (crooked spine). Other names, however, seem to symbolize deeper meanings. Why do you think Steinbeck chose the following names?
Curley (Look up the definition of “cur”) –
Whit –
Candy –
Candy’s Wife remains unnamed for the entire novel – What might have been the purpose of not giving her a proper name?
At the beginning of this chapter Steinbeck spends a great deal of time describing Crooks’ living quarters. What does the reader gain through this description? What do we learn about Crooks in this chapter?
What has brought Lennie to Crooks’ room initially? How would you characterize Crooks’ reaction to his visitor?
What causes Crooks to soften his initially hostile reaction to Lennie’s visit?
Crooks is another lonely man on the ranch. Explain how his loneliness differs from the others.
Crooks provokes Lennie by suggesting that he might not return to the ranch. Explain how Lennie reacts. What further characterization can you add about both men after reading this dialogue?
When Lennie tells Crooks about the dream of the place he and George will have, how does Crooks react?
Candy joins them, and then who else shows up? Why? Explain what happens.
As Curley’s wife is characterized, how do you think Steinbeck wanted the reader to feel about her?
One of the themes developed in this novel deals with the idea of power and the powerless. How does this arise in the closing passages of this chapter?
Cite (quote) the visual image of Crooks that Steinbeck creates to convey that Crooks is mentally and emotionally defeated by Curley’s wife.
How does the chapter begin and end (Look for something circular.) What might be the author’s purpose with this organization?
Despite the descriptive setting of the barn and the quiet Sunday afternoon, this chapter begins with an accident. Explain what happens and how Lennie reacts. What is he most worried about?
Which person wanders into the barn? Why? How does Lennie react?
How is this conversation similar to the one Lennie had with Crooks in the last chapter?
How does Curley’s wife show a gentler side when she speaks to Lennie this time?
Curley’s wife says, “You can get another one easy. The whole country is full of mutts.” How might her statement be taken to refer to more than dogs?
How does Curley’s wife react when Lennie keeps telling her he can’t talk to her?
The dream motif keeps reappearing throughout the book. What dream does Curley’s Wife have? What results from her unfulfilled dream of receiving a letter?
What does Curley’s Wife tell Lennie about her feelings about Curley?
Why does Curley’s Wife allow Lennie to touch her hair?
What happens next, and how does this moment in the novel remind you of earlier happenings?
Explain the following imagery: “And the meanness and the plannings and the discontent and the ache for attention were all gone from her face. She was very pretty and simple, and her face was sweet and young.”
How do both the dreams of Curley’s Wife and Lennie die in this moment?
What type of figurative language appears in the following quotation?
“Then gradually time awakened again and moved sluggishly on.”
Explain the literal meaning.
Who discovers Curley’s wife? What is his reaction? What does he ask George about the dream for the farm now?
Who does Candy blame for his disappointment?
What lie does George tell the other men about where Lennie might be? Why?
What do the men suppose happened to Carlson`s gun? How does this show they really have no understanding for Lennie’s character? Who most likely has the gun?
How is the beginning of this scene similar to Chapter 1 of the novel? Why would Steinbeck choose to begin this final chapter the same way he began the first?
Steinbeck gives the readers the imagery of a heron awaiting his prey. Connect his image to Lennie and his current circumstances.
Lennie remembers a “little fat old woman who wore thick bull’s-eye glasses . . . a huge gingham apron with pockeds, and she was starched and clean.” Who is he remembering and why now?
Explain the hallucinations that Lennie has as he waits for George to come. Why do you think he is having them?
Why does George go through the motions of pretending he is angry with Lennie?
To what extent does Lennie understand the seriousness of what he has done?
Once more George tells Lennie the dream litany. What does George know about his dreams for the future now?
Why is George not angry with Lennie?
During the retelling of the story, the point is made that on their farm they will have each other to look after. Why is this point mentioned so often?
Link what happens next with Candy telling George and Lennie that he should have been the one to shoot his dog.
When the other men find George, he lies to them about the events that led to Lennie’s death?
Who realizes what really happened in the grove?
Explain the significance of the final statement of the novel.

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