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1. Reread the first paragraph of the novel. How does the passage function? What purpose does Steinbeck fulfill by beginning the novel in this way?
The novel begins with a rich description of the setting. Steinbeck uses descriptive language to indicate that the area is a place of rest. The specific colors, foliage, and animals that are mentioned create a respite, even for those boys and men from the ranches who beat a path to the water. For example, Steinbeck uses the following images to suggest that this place is a place of comfort and that the Salinas River is a sanctuary.
2. Compare and contrast the men who come into the clearing by the river. What do you think Steinbeck wants the reader to infer about the men based on their descriptions?
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.” (p. 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.” (p. 2) The other man is huge and fair-skinned.
3. Steinbeck uses several animal images to describe Lennie. Cite two examples of images that are used and explain their effects on Lennie’s characterization.
“Lennie dabbled his big paw in the water and wiggled… and came back again.”(pg 3) “…dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws.”(pg 3)
4. When George and Lennie reach a clearing, George gives Lennie instructions about the water. When Lennie and George sit by the river to rest, what do they talk about? What does Steinbeck achieve through the conversation? What can we learn about Lennie from their conversation? What can we learn about George.
George explains to Lennie where they are going. Lennie has forgotten about “watchin’ that blackboard.” (p. 5) The reader can infer from their conversation that Lennie is simple. He may be a large man, but he cannot remember things as basic as where he is going. George is obviously Lennie’s protector; George even keeps track of Lennie’s work card. Steinbeck is continuing to establish the interdependent relationship between Lennie and George
5. Read the following line from the novel and explain the phrase ” watchin’ that blackboard.” How does it contribute to the characterization of George and Lennie. “You remember settin’ in that gutter on Howard street and watching’ that blackboard.”
“Watchin’ that blackboard” refers to the Depression era when employers would post jobs in front of their offices. Those men who were seeking work would check the blackboards to find any new jobs. Steinbeck is emphasizing the characters’ economic status, as well as the mindset that George and Lennie must have after moving across the country looking for work.
6. What information about Lennie’s character is revealed to the reader through George’s discovery of the dead mouse in Lennie’s pocket?
The reader learns that Lennie is pacified through simple things. He likes the touch of soft items. The reader also learns that Lennie is not bothered by the idea that the mouse is dead, but he is worried that George will think that he killed i
7. 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.” The reader can infer that Lennie is a hard worker (perhaps because of his size), but he is likely to say the wrong thing.
8. Why does Steinbeck mention that George and Lennie had problems in Weed but then not develop the story? As George and Lennie are waiting to go to the camp, George states, “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.” a)Explain what this statement illustrates about George’s feelings toward Lennie. b)How is George’s statement ironic given the time period in which the novel is set? c)What does the reader learn about George and his dreams?
Steinbeck is creating dramatic interest and foreshadowing by mentioning Weed without divulging the details of what happened there. The reader can assume that the specific information will be revealed later. A) George is frustrated with Lennie because he requires so much care. It is understandable that Lennie’s handicap sometimes interferes with their friendship. B) George’s attitude is ironic, considering how most men in their situation are lonely and long for a companion, a friend. C) 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.
9. Even though Lennie’s mentality keeps him from fully understanding the world around him, he is very sensitive to George’s feelings. Describe an incident that shows Lennie’s compassion for George.
Example: While warming 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 don’t want no ketchup. I wouldn’t eat no ketchup if it was right here beside me. …I wouldn’t eat none, George. I’d leave it all for you. You could cover your beans with it and I wouldn’t touch none of it.” (p. 12)
10. After George erupts in anger about the responsibility of taking care of Lennie, Lennie offers to run away and leave George alone. Why do you think George does not take Lennie up on his offer?
George seems to regret the way he talks to Lennie. He even asks Lennie if he has been mean to him. Because George has taken care of Lennie for so long, George feels a great responsibility for Lennie’s well-being. George is worried that Lennie would not survive if he was not with him.
11. What literary techniques does Steinbeck use in the passage that begins ” ‘You crazy son-of-a bitch. You keep me in hot water all the time.’ ” The passage ends with “He looked across the fire at Lennie’s anguished face, and then he looked ashamedly at the flames.”
Steinbeck employs several literary techniques. First, Steinbeck uses George’s character to fill in narrative gaps. The reader does not know what happened in Weed, but through George’s conversation with Lennie, Steinbeck is able to relate a few of the details without using a flashback. Second, Steinbeck is establishing some foreshadowing of events to come. The reader should pay attention to the fact that Weed has now been mentioned twice, which would imply that it is a fairly significant event. Finally, Steinbeck is able to reveal part of George’s personality. The reader learns that George is sympathetic to Lennie and remorseful for making Lennie feel badly. This revealing characteristic comes after George berates Lennie.
12. Why does Lennie like George to tell the story of the ranch, even though he already knows it by heart? Why does George so readily agree to tell the story, even though he has just gotten angry with Lennie a few minutes before? What does this story reveal about one of the themes in the novel?
Lennie, having the mentality of a child, is reassured by George’s retelling. George does not mind telling the story because it reinforces their dreams and the fact that they have a solid relationship. Lennie likes feeling the reassurance that George will look after him and he will look after George. Steinbeck uses George and Lennie’s dream to illustrate the nature of the American dream. The characters throughout the novel discuss the dreams that they have to be able to be free to pursue their own happiness. It reveals “my brother’s keeper” because George is protecting both of their job opportunities.
13. Explain the expression “live off the fatta the lan’.”
To live off of 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.
14. 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 camp. 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.
15. By the end of Chapter 1, there are two themes that are easily identified. Using specific examples, describe these themes.
Friendship is shown when George doesn’t want Lennie to leave and cares about his safety. My Brother’s keeper is shown by how George protects Lennie.
1. In this chapter, Steinbeck again begins with a description of the setting. Explain how this description is different from the description at the beginning of the previous chapter. What does this description tell us about George and Lennie’s life?
In the first section of the novel, Steinbeck begins with a pleasant description of the lush area along the Salinas River. The reader is introduced to the book through a calming setting. At the beginning of this section, the reader sees the living quarters that Lennie and George will share. The reader is awakened to the realities of George and Lennie’s life, and better understands Lennie and George’s dreams of a better life.
2. What happens when George and Lennie arrive at the camp? What do they learn?
When George and Lennie arrive at the camp, they are shown to their bunks. They learn that the boss is already angry with them because he was expecting them the night before.
3. Explain the purpose of including the story about the blacksmith who used to work at the ranch.
Steinbeck includes the story of the blacksmith to illustrate the nature of the men who come to work at the ranches. The blacksmith suddenly quits. Candy says, “Why…he…just quit, the way a guy will…. Just wanted to move” (p. 19). These men have no ties, so they come and go on a whim; they are without roots.
4. How does the old man describe the boss? What seems unusual about the boss?
The old man uses the words, “a nice fella.”(p. 20). He tells Lennie and George that the boss gives them whiskey at Christmas. George is surprised to hear that the boss brought a whole gallon of whiskey into the bunkhouse as a Christmas present for the ranch hands. Most of the men who owned the ranches did not take time to get to know the men who came to work for them.
5. a) In the scene between the boss, George, and Lennie, how does the boss misinterpret what is going on between George and Lennie? b) What does the boss think is taking place? c) What does the reader know about the conversation between the three men?
The boss suspects that George is trying to take advantage of Lennie because George will not let Lennie speak. He thinks that George is trying to steal Lennie’s pay. B) The boss thinks that George is selling Lennie out. George explains to the boss that Lennie is his cousin and that he was injured as a child so he is not very smart. He also explains that Lennie is a strong worker to make up for his lack of intelligence. C) The reader knows that George is simply trying to ensure that they get to work on the ranch. George is worried that if Lennie speaks, the boss will not give them a chance.
6. Explain the irony in Lennie’s last name.
Lennie’s last name is Small. Lennie’s name is ironic because he is a very large man, not small like his name suggests; however, Lennie is “small” in the way he thinks. Lennie’s thinking resembles the thinking of a small child.
7. Who is Curley, and what does it mean when Candy says he is “handy”?
Curley, is the boss’s son. He is called “handy” because he likes to fight with people.
8. Describe the tone in the following passage. How does Steinbeck create the tone? What does it reveal about Curley? His eyes passed over the new men and he stopped. He glanced coldly at George and then at Lennie. His arms gradually bent at the elbows and his hands closed into fists. He stiffened and went into a slight crouch. His glance was at once calculating and pugnacious. Lennie squirmed under the look and shifted his feet nervously.
The tone of the passage is aggressive. Steinbeck emphasizes Curley’s physical reaction to the men. Steinbeck describes Curley as calculating and pugnacious. Curley is an abusive, cruel person who, because he is the boss’s son, seems to throw his weight around. The old man describes him as someone who picks fights with big guys and small guys, but whether he wins or loses he always comes out on top.
“Never did seem right to me. S’pose Curley jumps a big guy an’ licks him. Ever’body says what a game guy Curley is. And s’pose he does the same thing and gets licked. Then ever’body says that the big guy oughtta pick somebody his own size, and maybe they gang up on the big guy. Never did seem right to me. Seems like Curley ain’t givin’ nobody a chance.” (pp. 26-27
9. What is suggested about Curley’s character when he reacts to George and Lennie the way that he does?
Curley seems insecure. Curley might act the way he does because he is embarrassed about his size and jealous of men who are stronger and bigger than he is. George does not like Curley and warns the old man that Curley should not mess with Lennie. He states, “I don’t like mean little guys.” (p. 27)
10. Explain the significance of the following passage: “The old man was reassured. He had drawn a derogatory statement from George. He felt safe now …” What does this passage illustrate about the relationships between men during the Depression?
The old man might feel that, if all of the men working for Curley made disrespectful remarks, they would all be on the same playing field. The old man might not want George and Lennie to have the upper hand at the camp. If George had not made any derogatory statements about Curley, George might be able to blackmail the old man or tell Curley what the old man had said. This passage illustrates the men’s loneliness. They do not even trust one another to speak openly without trying to trap the other person. Men were not capable of supporting one another, but instead wanted to be sure to have an advantage on the other person.
11. What does the reader learn about Curley’s wife? Why might this be important to the story?
The reader learns that Curley’s wife (according to the old man) has a wandering eye, which means that she is looking at other men even though she has been married for only two weeks. This information, and the reaction that Curley and George have with one another, might foreshadow some later tension and conflict in the novel.
12. What is important about the way in which Steinbeck refers to the “Stable Buck”? What does it imply?
Steinbeck refers to the Stable Buck as a “******.” This appellation is important because it illustrates the racial attitudes even among the lowest classes of society in the early decades of the Twentieth Century.
13. How does the following passage serve as foreshadowing in the novel? ” ‘If he tangles with you, Lennie, we’re gonna get the can. Don’t make no mistake about that. He’s the boss’s son. Look, Lennie. You try to keep away from him, will you? Don’t never speak to him. If he comes in here you move clear to the other side of the room.’ “
George is worried that Curley will try to pick a fight with Lennie, and then the two men will lose their jobs at the ranch. The reader might suspect that something is going to happen between Lennie and Curley that will either cause the men to lose their jobs, or will force Lennie to return to the clearing as George had instructed him in the previous chapter.
14. Explain how the following line from the novel might be symbolic. Both men glanced up, for the rectangle of sunshine in the doorway was cut off.
In the novel, Steinbeck is careful to use descriptions of the setting to establish certain moods. In this case, George and Lennie have been talking about the danger of interfering with Curley and his wife. At this particular moment, Curley’s wife steps into the doorway. If the reader thinks of the sunshine as light and promise, the lack of sunshine (caused by Curley’s wife’s entrance) could symbolize that Curley’s wife is dangerous.
15. Describe what happens to George after Curley’s wife comes to the barn looking for Curley.
George is angry at Lennie because Lennie keeps talking about how pretty Curley’s wife is. George does not want Lennie thinking about her, especially when Curley is already apprehensive about Lennie.
16. Explain the foreshadowing in the following lines from the novel: Lennie cried out suddenly—”I don’ like this place, George. This ain’t no good place. I wanna get outa here.”
Lennie and George come to the ranch for work. They have not even been at the ranch a full day, and they are (1) already in trouble with the boss for being late, and (2) the boss’s son has already taken a disliking to Lennie. (3) Curley’s wife seems to be a catalyst for trouble. Lennie fears they are in a “bad place,” suggesting that something “bad” will happen.
17. Steinbeck is careful to provide direct and indirect characterization for the characters in the novel. Describe Slim by using specific references from the novel. Is this direct or indirect characterization? What do the descriptions of Slim indicate about his character?
Steinbeck uses direct characterization to describe Slim. Slim is the muleskinner and crew chief, who comes across as a tough, fair, and likable person.
“long, black, damp hair…” (p. 33)
“wore blue jeans and a short denim jacket.” (p. 33)
“moved with a majesty only achieved by royalty and master craftsmen.” (p. 33)
“the prince of the ranch”(p. 33)
“capable of killing a fly on the wheeler’s butt with a bull whip without touching the mule.” (p. 33)
“gravity in his manner and a quiet so profound that all talk stopped when he spoke.” (p. 33)
“His hatchet face was ageless.” (p. 33)
“slow speech…” (p. 34)
“His hands, large and lean, were as delicate in their action as those of a temple dancer.” (p. 34)
Many of the words and images associated with Slim portray him as kingly. He embodies qualities that are elevated from the other men on the ranch, and the other men respect him.
18. What metaphor is used to describe Slim?
Steinbeck compares Slim to a prince, which elevates him to royalty. (p. 33)
19. What literary device does Steinbeck use in the following passage? Explain its purpose. Lennie, who had been following the conversation back and forth with his eyes, smiled complacently at the compliment. Slim looked approvingly at George for having given the compliment. He leaned over the table and snapped the corner of a loose card. “You guys travel around together?” His tone was friendly. It invited confidence without demanding it.
Steinbeck carefully uses the alliteration of the hard “c” sound in this passage. The word “complacent” and the repetition of the word “compliment” give the impression that the exchange between the men is friendly. In fact, Steinbeck even describes Slim’s tone as friendly; however, the hard “c” sound should remind the reader that under the surface there is always competition and skepticism between the men.
20. What happens to Slim’s dog and her puppies? How does this function as a parallel to survival as a migrant worker?
Slim’s dog bears nine puppies. Instead of keeping all of the puppies, Slim drowns four of them, keeping only the healthiest and largest five. These actions illustrate the competitive nature of survival during the Depression. Only the strong will survive, and the weak will perish
21. Throughout this chapter, Lennie and George are questioned three times about traveling together. Describe the three encounters and what we learn about the characters through their responses to George’s answer.
The first time that George and Lennie are asked about traveling together, the boss of the ranch is skeptical that the two men are traveling together simply because they want to. The boss believes that George is using Lennie for his money. His response suggests that he cares only about the men in terms of the work they will complete and the financial gain they will help provide.
Curley is the second person to question George and Lennie about why they are traveling together. His response, “Oh, so it’s that way.” (p. 25) suggests that Curley believes the two men have a sexual relationship. His response demonstrates his crass nature.
The final man to ask George and Lennie about their travel is Slim. When Slim asks the question, his response to the answer echoes the sentiments of all of the migrant men who must travel alone. Slim demonstrates that he is friendly and understanding
22. Throughout the chapter, the reader is introduced to a majority of the characters who will play a role in the novel. How are the characters connected to one another? What can we learn about migrant workers during the Great Depression through the narration of this chapter?
This chapter connects characters in various ways. First and most obviously, George and Lennie are connected because they travel together. This is unusual during this era because the life of a migrant worker is lonely. Ranch hands are typically transient, migrant, traveling wherever they might find work, staying only as long as the work lasts. However, in this chapter George is also connected to Slim in that they are both leaders. George leads Lennie, and Slim seems to be the unofficial leader of the entire group. Curley and his wife are connected—not just in the sense that they are married—but they both are menacing to George and Lennie. Curley is a menace because of his violent and cruel nature; Curley’s wife is a menace because of her seductive, predatory nature. Candy and Crooks are connected by their separation from the rest of the group: Candy is an old man, and Crooks is black, both trying to fit in at the ranch. One of the most important connections at this point in the novel is the connection between George and Candy. Both men are responsible for others who are incapable of taking care of themselves. George is responsible for Lennie, and Candy is responsible for his old dog.
23. How does Curley serve as a foil to Lennie?
Curley thrives on his strength, or appearance of strength, even though he is a small man. On the other hand, Lennie is a gentle man, even though he is the largest man in the group.
24. Steinbeck introduces the reader to Curley’s wife in this chapter. What seems to be her role? What might this indicate about the way women were viewed during the Depression?
Curley’s wife is not given a name, even though she has several interactions with the men. She is talked about only in light of her sexuality and her relationship with Curley. This suggests that, for Steinbeck, she is more a type than an individual. The roles Steinbeck assigns to women are the caretakers, like Lennie’s Aunt Clara, and the seductress, like Curley’s wife
1. Throughout the novel to this point, Steinbeck has used several occasions to comment on the relationship between George and Lennie. How does Steinbeck comment on the relationship at the beginning of this passage? Why do you think he feels that it is necessary to revisit the nature of relationships between men in the Depression? Slim comments to George that it is odd how the two men seem to travel together. Again, someone mentions the way in which men seem to migrate between camps after only spending a month at each. Steinbeck uses this novel to comment on American society. Part of his comments focus on the way in which men isolate one another when they need each other the most. The interesting note about the relationship between Lennie and George is that eventually the fact that they care so much about each other will be the reason that their relationship ends.
Slim comments to George that it is odd how the two men seem to travel together. Again, someone mentions the way in which men seem to migrate between camps after only spending a month at each. Steinbeck uses this novel to comment on American society. Part of his comments focus on the way in which men isolate one another when they need each other the most. The interesting note about the relationship between Lennie and George is that eventually the fact that they care so much about each other will be the reason that their relationship ends.
2. What does the reader learn about the relationship between George and Lennie as George talks to Slim?
George used to pick on Lennie by playing jokes on him. For George, it was easy to pick on Lennie because he is so gullible, “Why he’d do any damn thing I tol’ him. If I tol’ him to walk over a cliff, over he’d go.” (p. 40) This torment went on for some time, until one day, by the Sacramento River, George told Lennie to jump in. Lennie, unable to swim, nearly drowned. George pulled Lennie to safety, and Lennie was grateful, “he was so damn nice to me for pullin’ him out. Clean forgot I told him to jump in.” (p. 40) George realized then, that he was not treating Lennie like a person, and he never tormented Lennie again. George and Lennie depend on each other for different reasons. George depends on Lennie because Lennie gives him a purpose. George is in charge of Lennie (as is demonstrated through the stories he tells Slim at the beginning of the chapter). Lennie is dependent on George because he needs him to survive.
3. Why does George reveal to Slim what happened to them in Weed? What is Slim’s response? Explain the irony in George’s confession.
George tells Slim about what happens because he finds it easy to talk to Slim. He also slips and mentions Weed because Slim is talking about what a nice person Lennie is. When Slim hears the story, he again recognizes that Lennie does not have a violent nature. Slim states, “He ain’t mean. I can tell a mean guy a mile off” (p. 42). The irony in the confession is that George has warned Lennie from the moment they arrived at the camp that he is not to talk about anything. George is worried that, because Lennie is not smart, he will say something that will get the men in trouble. Ultimately, however, it is George who opens up and shares their secrets.
4. How does Steinbeck use a discovery in a pulp magazine to reinforce one of the themes of the novel?
Slim and Whit discover a letter that a man who used to work the camp has written to a magazine. The letter is important because it represents a dream for something that one of them was able to achieve. Getting a letter published in a magazine may not seem important to some, but it was something that William Tenner (the man who wrote the letter) had looked forward to as he was working. Seeing the letter in the paper gave William hope. This experience emphasizes the importance of dreams.
5. Read the following passage found on page 48. This is just one of the several images of silence that Steinbeck uses: “His voice trailed off. It was silent outside. Carlson’s footsteps died away. The silence came into the room. And the silence lasted.”
A) Why does silence play an important role at this point in the novel? B) Who is literally being silenced? C) Who is metaphorically being silenced, and what role does each man play in the silence?
Steinbeck focuses on silence to highlight the mood. Literally, Candy’s dog is being silenced by Carlson. The silence heightens the sense of anticipation and dread that Candy must feel while he is waiting to hear the sound of the gun. Metaphorically, the men at the ranch are being silenced. Just as the dog is an example of a weakness being destroyed by strength, the men on the ranch are powerless as well. Each man, whether because of age, race, or intelligence, is silenced in a world where he is forced to travel and work. Lennie is silenced because he thinks like a child. Literally George does not let him speak to people who have more power. Crooks, the black stable hand, is silenced because he is not allowed to even come inside the bunk house. All of the men are silenced by Curley because Curley is in charge of the ranch.
6. Whit asks George if he has seen Curley’s wife. What do you believe is Steinbeck’s purpose in re-introducing her to the narrative?
This is important because each time Curley’s wife is mentioned, George has a negative reaction to her. The reader might infer that she is going to be responsible for a problem between Curley, Lennie, and George.
7. Explain the following passage and its function in the story: “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.”
The passage foreshadows later events in the novel—some sort of conflict between Curley’s wife and the men. Because George and Lennie have already had conflict with Curley, the reader can assume that the conflict will involve Lennie and Curley as well.
8. Describe the situation that occurs when Curley comes into the bunk house. What does this situation illustrate about Curley’s character and his relationship with his wife?
Curley comes in the bunk house to find his wife. When he discovers that Slim is not in the bunk house either, he assumes that his wife and Slim are together, showing that Curly does not trust his wife. The first place we see this is when Curley assumes that his wife would be hanging out in the bunk house with the men. Curley is a jealous man, and this could spark problems between Curley, George, and Lennie later in the novel.
9. How does Lennie, sensitive by nature, reveal a violent streak while George tells the story of their future ranch? How does his statement add to the violent nature of the novel?
While describing their future, George tells Lennie that they will own a dog and a couple of cats, but Lennie will have to make sure that the cats do not get a hold of the rabbits. In response to this, Lennie states, “You jus’ let ’em try to get the rabbits. I’ll break their ******** necks. I’ll…I’ll smash ’em with a stick” (p. 58). This statement shows how irrational Lennie can be, which helps to explain why he is unable to survive on his own. Also, Lennie’s statement reflects the violence of the men’s society. Lennie’s first impulse is to kill the cats, just as Carlson’s is to shoot Candy’s dog.
10. Explain how the theme of survival is highlighted in Chapter Three
When Candy is talking about sharing the dream with Lennie and George, he mentions that he was hurt a few years ago on the farm. He believes that he will be let go because he can no longer do any work. This emphasizes the idea that people who are weak are destroyed or removed from those who are stronger, similar to the way Carlson wanted to destroy the dog. Candy believes that Lennie and George would still allow him to work, even if he was not as strong as he used to be. Perhaps he thinks this way because of the way George takes care of Lennie.
11. After George, Lennie, and Candy make a pact not to tell anyone about their dream, 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” (p. 61). Explain the parallelism between the relationship Candy had with his dog and George has with Lennie. How might this statement be an example of foreshadowing?
Both of the relationships started in childhood. Candy had his dog since it was a pup, and George knew Lennie from childhood. Second, both men (George and Candy) are in positions to take care of their partners. Candy must take care of his dog because the dog is no longer capable of taking care of itself. According to Carlson, the dog is not worth the time and effort it takes to take care of it. George must take of Lennie because Lennie is too simple-minded to take care of himself. The interesting foreshadowing is that Candy wishes that he had taken care of his dog rather than someone else; later in the novel, George will shoot Lennie because he does not want some stranger to do it.
12. Describe the conflict that ensues at the end of the chapter. Why might Steinbeck have chosen to end the chapter this way?
Slim is angry because Curley keeps asking him if he is involved with Curley’s wife. “Slim said, ‘Well, you been askin’ me too often. I’m gettin’ ******* sick of it. If you can’t look after your own ******* wife, what you expect me to do about it?'” (p. 62.) After Slim yells at Curly for picking on him, Carlson joins in by talking about how frightened Curley is. Then, Candy joins the argument by making fun of Curley’s glove. Curley gets angry, and tells the men that they can step outside to fight. Curley is demonstrating his power over the men; he knows that they will not fight him because he is their boss. Curley has to back down in the argument with Slim and Carlson. Feeling embarrassed, Curley attempts to boost his own ego by picking on Lennie who is the easiest target. The reader should remember that earlier in the story, Curley is described as a person who picks on people who are unfairly matched with him. George encourages Lennie to fight back, perhaps because he does not like Curley. From their first encounter, there has been some animosity between George and Curley. George also might want Lennie to take care of himself. After taking a few blows from Curley, Lennie literally does what George asks and crushes Curley’s hand. Steinbeck chooses to end this chapter with the greatest amount of conflict between the men. The reader remembers that George has been warning Lennie to stay away from Curley.
13. Why will Curley keep quiet about what Lennie did to him and not try to get George and Lennie fired? How does this reflect on Curley’s character?
Lennie, unjustly provoked, crushes Curley’s hand, breaking nearly every bone. As the men prepare to take Curley to the doctor, George wonders whether he and Lennie will be fired. Slim, who witnessed the entire event, knows Curley is in the wrong and assures George that the secret is safe from the boss. Slim tells Curley, “I think you got your han’ caught in a machine. …But you jus’ tell an’ try to get this guy canned and we’ll tell ever’body, an’ then will you get the laugh” (p. 64). To avoid becoming a laughing-stock, Curley agrees not to tell. Curley is a man who relishes in his reputation. His reputation would be ruined if people knew what happened.
1. Some of the character names are nicknames, given to describe a characteristic, such as Slim (thin) and Crooks (crooked spine). Other names, however, seem to point to deeper meanings. Why do you think Steinbeck chose the following names for his characters?
Curley: “At that moment a young man came into the bunk house;a thin young man with brown face,with brown eyes and a head of tightly curled hair.
Whit: “He spend half his time lookin for her, and the rest of the time she ‘s lookin’ for him”
Candy: “I ought to of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn’t ought to of let no stranger shoot my dog.
2. Often, the setting is not just “where the story happens,” but instead is a geographical, historical, social, economic, or philosophical setting. Steinbeck spends a great deal of time describing Crooks’ living quarters at the beginning of this section. What does the reader gain through this description? What do we learn about Crooks?
The reader learns two things. First, the reader learns that Crooks, because he is black, is forced to live outside of the bunk house. In fact, he has his own space in which he can do whatever he wants. Second, we learn that Crooks is almost a permanent fixture of the ranch. He has many more possessions than a typical person would have because he does not need to worry about transporting those possessions. The reader also learns that Crooks takes pride in his space, but he also enjoys the fact that he lives alone. He does not need to worry about picking up after himself. The setting helps isolate the characters and comments on the role the characters allow their circumstances to play in their lives.
3. How does Crooks respond when Lennie comes to visit him? Explain the irony in the situation.
Lennie wants to see the newborn puppies being kept in the stable, but when he gets there he notices Crooks’ light is on and decides to pay him a visit. Crooks is unhappy about Lennie’s visit. He states, “You got no right to come in my room. This here’s my room. Nobody got any right in here but me” (p. 68). His response is ironic in light of the men’s loneliness. The reader would expect that Crooks would be happy to have someone who would visit with him.
5. How is Crook’s loneliness different from the other characters on the ranch?
Crooks’ loneliness stems from lessons he learned as a child. “I was born right here in California. My old man had a chicken ranch, ’bout ten acres. The white kids come to play at our place, an’ sometimes I went to play with them, and some of them was pretty nice. My ol’ man didn’t like that. I never knew till long later why he didn’t like that. But I know now. …There wasn’t another colored family for miles around. And now there ain’t a colored man on this ranch an’ there’s jus’ one family in Soledad. …If I say something, why it’s just a ****** sayin’ it.” (p.70) Crooks has been isolated because of his race, therefore his loneliness is deeper than the loneliness of the other men.
6. Why does Lennie become upset with Crooks? Why does Steinbeck include this interchange between Lennie and Crooks?
Crooks begins asking Lennie, “S’pose George don’t come back no more. …What’ll you do then?” (p. 71) Lennie, at first, is confident George will always return, but Crooks continues to provoke Lennie until he begins to doubt his confidence in his good friend and companion. These thoughts infuriate Lennie, making him angry with Crooks.
Steinbeck includes this interchange because it demonstrates two important themes in the novel. First, Crooks enjoys tormenting Lennie. Steinbeck is highlighting the predatory nature of all of us, even though at the same time one person is torturing another, he or she may be the victim of someone else’s power. Second, this instance further highlights Lennie’s emotional immaturity. Lennie is quick to anger when he feels as if he is being threatened or George is being threatened.
7. What explanation does Crooks give for upsetting Lennie?
Crook explains to Lennie that he wants Lennie to understand what it is like to believe that he has no one, just as Crooks has no one. “A guy needs somebody—to be near him. …A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t make no difference who the guy is, long’s he’s with you” (p. 72).
8. When Curley’s wife comes to Crooks’ door, how is her initial response to the men parallel to the way in which Crooks initially responds to Lennie?
Curley’s wife attacks the men, just as Crooks took the opportunity to attack Lennie. Curley’s wife is one of the weak characters at the ranch, but her weakness is her gender. She takes the opportunity to hurt the men by saying, “They left all the weak ones here,” before they have the opportunity to hurt her first. (p. 77)
9. Who comes to visit Lennie, Candy, and Crooks? What is the real reason behind the visit?
Curley’s wife stops at Crooks’ bunk claiming to be looking for Curley. She admits, however, that she already knows where he is, and the real reason behind her visit is because she is as lonely as the other men. “Think I don’t like to talk to somebody ever’ once in a while? Think I like to stick in that house alla time?” (p. 77).
10. When Curley’s wife sees Lennie, Candy, and Crooks talking together, how does she characterize them?
Curley’s wife characterizes the men as “weak” because they have not gone into town drinking and whoring.
11. Characterize Curley’s wife as she is presented in the novel. How is the reader supposed to feel about her?
The reader’s first impression of Curley’s wife seems to be that she is a mean-spirited person, not very intelligent, and a flirt, who wears too much make-up and dresses provocatively. However, the more Curley’s wife is given the opportunity to speak in the novel, the reader learns that her anger is motivated by her loneliness, similar to the way Crooks’ loneliness motivates his anger. She is embarrassed that she is so lonely that she has resorted to talking to Crooks, Lennie, and Candy. “Ever’body out doin’ som’pin’. Ever’body! An’ what am I doin’? Standin’ here talkin’ to a bunch of bindle stiffs—a ****** an’ a dum-dum and a lousy ol’ sheep—an’ likin’ it because they ain’t nobody else.” (p. 78)
12. How is the theme of power and powerlessness developed at the beginning and in the final section of this chapter?
At the beginning of the chapter, Crooks tries to exert his power over Lennie, and then Candy, as they try to come to his bunk to talk to him. Because Crooks is powerless most of the time, he takes control of his space and has the power to let people in or keep them out. At the end of the chapter, Curley’s wife exerts her power as a white woman over Crooks. She knows that she can say or do anything and that Crooks is unable to retaliate. Whereas Curley’s wife may be powerless on the ranch and in her relationship with her husband, she has power over those who are also powerless.
13. Why does Steinbeck diverge from his narration to focus a chapter on two different characters in the novel, Crooks and Curley’s wife?
Steinbeck uses this opportunity to develop Crooks’ character. Crooks offers the reader a glimpse of another person who is marginalized in society. Crooks’ anger, as he relates to Lennie through stories about his childhood, stems from his isolation due to his race. The rest of the characters in the novel are isolated and lonely for other reasons: economics, age, and gender.
Steinbeck also uses this chapter to provide more information about Curley’s wife. Thus far in the novel, her characterization has been through the other characters’ words and actions. Curley’s wife explains how she also has a dream. The reader learns the reasons for her behavior.
Curley’s wife and Crooks are similar in the way they relate to the other characters in the novel. They are both quick to snap at the other people, probably because they have spent their lives on the outside of every situation—Crooks because he is African-American, and Curley’s wife because she is a female.
14.When Curley’s wife is asked to leave Crooks’ room, she begins to threaten Crooks. Cite examples from the imagery that indicate Crooks feels defeated.
“Crooks seemed to grow smaller, and he pressed himself against the wall.” (p. 80)
“Crooks had reduced himself to nothing. There was no personality, no ego—nothing to arouse either like or dislike.” (p. 81)
1. Despite the descriptive setting of the barn and the quiet Sunday afternoon, Chapter Five begins with an accident. Explain what happened and why Lennie is so worried. What are the larger implications that Steinbeck wants the reader to consider?
Lennie kills the pup that Slim gave him. According to the text, Lennie was playing too roughly with the puppy. “‘Why do you got to get killed? You ain’t so little as mice. I didn’t bounce you hard.'” (p. 85) Lennie is worried that George will not let him tend to the rabbits on the farm if he has killed the puppy. Steinbeck begins the chapter with this incident for two reasons. First, Steinbeck wants to be sure that the reader does not forget what Lennie is capable of. Steinbeck uses smaller incidents throughout the story to remind the reader that Lennie is capable of violence, but the dead puppy also illustrates that Lennie does not always understand the consequences of his actions. Second, Steinbeck is also using this incidence to foreshadow problems to come. In terms of the exposition of the story, Steinbeck has gone to great lengths to develop the rising action that will eventually lead to the climax.
2. Describe the instance where the reader sees Lennie’s irrational anger when he does not understand what is going on, or when he is worried about something that is going to happen.
Upon realizing that he has killed one of the puppies, Lennie knows George will be upset with him: “…Maybe George won’t care…This here ******** little son-of-a-bitch wasn’t nothing to George” (p. 86). The choice of language here seems uncharacteristic of Lennie. Lennie becomes angry and throws the puppy away from him. The anger that he transfers to the puppy would be unreasonable for someone like George, but because Lennie is upset and does not understand what will happen, he takes his anger out on the puppy.
3. How is Curley’s wife described when she comes into the barn? Why do you think Steinbeck describes her in this way?
Steinbeck describes Curley’s wife as follows: “She wore her bright cotton dress and the mules with the red ostrich feathers. Her face was made up and the little sausage curls were all in place” (p. 86). This description of Curley’s wife confirms the reputation she has among the men. She is dressed provocatively . One reason Steinbeck might describe her in this way is to hold her in part responsible for what happens between her and Lennie
4. When Lennie is explaining to Curley’s wife what happened to the puppy, she responds, “Don’t you worry none. He was jus’ a mutt. You can get another one easy. The whole country is fulla mutts” (p. 87).
Steinbeck describes Curley’s wife as follows: “She wore her bright cotton dress and the mules with the red ostrich feathers. Her face was made up and the little sausage curls were all in place” (p. 86). This description of Curley’s wife confirms the reputation she has among the men. She is dressed provocatively . One reason Steinbeck might describe her in this way is to hold her in part responsible for what happens between her and Lennie. Also, men didn’t have any families.
5. Describe the similarities between Lennie and Curley’s wife’s conversation and the conversation between Lennie and Crooks
In both instances, the conversation is one-sided. Lennie’s child-like mentality hinders the discussion from progressing. Both Crooks and Curley’s wife attempt to talk about the past, but Lennie’s primary concern is with what will happen if he does not follow George’s rules.
6. Why does Curley’s wife become angry at Lennie?
Curley’s wife becomes angry because Lennie will not talk to her. When she is trying to soothe him, he tells her that he cannot talk because George will be upset. Curley’s wife is angry because she is lonely and feels as if she does not have the right to talk to anyone. The men on the ranch have taken her rights away.
7. Throughout the book, the reader learns about Lennie and George’s dream. A) What does the reader learn about Curley’s wife dream? B) How does her dream influence her life?
Curley’s wife dreams about being in motion pictures. When she was young, she had an opportunity to meet a man who was going to put her in motion pictures, but he never sent her a letter. As a result, she married Curley.
8. How does the reader know that Curley’s wife does not understand Lennie’s mental challenges?
Curley’s wife is very angry at Lennie because she has shared her dreams with him and how she feels about her husband. In response, Lennie only wants to talk about the rabbits that George is going to let him farm. If she understood Lennie’s mentality, she would treat him as Crooks did, understanding that Lennie is a nice person and is not going to tell her any of his secrets.
9. What is Lennie’s explanation for why he likes rabbits? How does Curley’s wife respond?
Lennie explains, “I like to pet nice things. Once at a fair I seen some of them long-hair rabbits. An’ they was nice, you bet. Sometimes I’ve even pet mice, but not when I could get nothing better” (p. 90). At first, Curley’s wife is worried by Lennie’s explanation, but soon she realizes that Lennie is not unlike other people who like nice things.
10. Why does Curley’s wife fail to recognize the danger in Lennie’s behavior? Why does Steinbeck portray her as almost sympathetic and comforting to Lennie?
When Lennie is talking about liking to touch soft things, she does little more than think that he is crazy. She likens his behavior and his attitude to that of a child. Steinbeck could intentionally be trying to indicate that Curley’s wife is only cruel in the way that the other men see her. She did mention in an earlier scene that the men seem to treat her much differently when they are alone than when they are with a group. This interaction between her and Lennie could be an example of that behavior. However, Steinbeck could also be pointing out Curley’s wife’s inability to focus on anything other than her own needs. She stays with Lennie because she can talk to him, fulfilling a need that she has at the moment. She is so consumed with her desire to not feel lonely, that she is willing to allow Lennie to touch her, even though she has just witnessed what he can do if he becomes too rough.
11. Why does Lennie panic, and what happens as a result of his panic? How is this similar to an event earlier in the story?
Curley’s wife invites Lennie to touch her hair because it is soft. When he does, he begins to rub her hair more harshly than she likes. Lennie panics after Curley’s wife screams because Lennie has a tight grip on her hair. Covering her mouth to stop her screaming, Lennie accidentally kills her. This event is similar to when Lennie crushed Curley’s hand. Because Lennie panics, he does not know how to let go of what is causing him the panic.
12. Compare the events at the beginning of the chapter with the events that happen at the end of the chapter.
Lennie’s response to what he has done is the same, regardless of the fact that in the second instance he has killed a human being. Lennie is unable to show remorse for what he has done; instead, he is worried about George’s reaction to what has happened. At the beginning of the chapter, Lennie tries to cover the puppy with hay once he realizes that he has killed it. At the end of the chapter, when he realizes that Curley’s wife is dead, he tries to cover her with hay.
13. What evidence in the novel has suggested that something tragic was going to happen to Curley’s wife?
Readers know that Lennie likes to pet soft things and that women have panicked in the past when he has tried to touch them, like in Weed. The reader also knows that George reiterated several times that Curley’s wife was going to “be the death of” him and Lennie. Given Lennie’s strength and the situation between Lennie and Curley’s wife (without George around to intervene), it is not surprising when Curley’s wife is killed.
14. Explain the following description from the novel: “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” (pp. 92-93). Do you think that Steinbeck is purposefully taking a misogynistic attitude toward women, or is Curley’s wife simply a representation of a woman’s life during the Depression?
The image describes Curley’s wife and her contented appearance after her death. Steinbeck seems to imply that her escape from powerlessness is death. a) It was explaining how when she died all emotion faded from her. b) I think that the was doing both because he was overly sexualizing a women, but was also being accurate toward how women acted at that time.
15. How do Curley’s wife’s and Lennie’s dreams both die with the accidental death?
Curley’s wife’s dream literally dies with her. Lennie’s dream dies because, as the reader knows, he will have to face legal consequences for his actions. While he cannot fathom these consequences and can think only that George will not let him tend the rabbits because he is too rough, he will certainly not be able to tend them when he is in prison, probably on death row.
16. How does Candy misinterpret Curley’s wife’s appearance in the barn?
When Candy first discovers Curley’s wife’s body, he believes that she is sleeping. In fact, the text states that he looks at her “disapprovingly” (p. 93).
17. A) Compare George’s and Candy’s responses to the situation. B) How is George’s response surprising given what the reader knows about his relationship with Lennie?
George decides that they must tell Curley about his wife. George is concerned that if he lets Lennie go, Lennie will not know how to fend for himself. This in itself is not surprising, but George has to know that Lennie will face the negative consequences of murder. The reader might expect that George would be more sympathetic and try to escape with Lennie before anyone finds out what happened. On the other hand, Candy wants to let Lennie get away. He is worried that Curley will kill Lennie when he finds out.
18. A) What image does Steinbeck use to describe George’s physical reaction to Curley’s wife’s death? B) What does his reaction indicate? C) Why do you think this might be his reaction?
Steinbeck uses the following image: “And finally, when he stood up, slowly and stiffly, his face was as hard and tight as wood, and his eyes were hard” (p. 94). The image suggests that George is angry rather than sad. The reader might expect that George would be saddened by Lennie’s actions; however, based on the image used to describe George’s face, the reader might instead think that George is angry at Lennie’s actions because he knows that Lennie has killed any chance the two men have of achieving their dream.
19. A) How does the reader know that Candy recognizes the greater implications of Lennie’s actions? B) What is George’s response to Candy’s questions?
What is George’s response to Candy’s questions? Candy asks George about the farm and if they are still going to be able to go. George seems defeated as he replies that he always believed that the farm was an impossible dream.
20. Describe Candy’s reaction after he learns that their dream of the farm is no longer a reality? Why do you think he reacts this way?
When Candy speaks to Curley’s wife’s dead body he says, “You ******** tramp…You done it, di’n’t you? I s’pose you’re glad. Ever’body knowed you’d mess things up. You wasn’t no good” (p. 95). Candy’s statement shows his disappointment that his chance of leaving the ranch is over. He blames Curley’s wife for the disappointment.
21. How does George try to protect Lennie after the men have found the body? How do we know that this is not where Lennie would have gone?
George tells the men that Lennie would have gone south because they came from the north. The reader should remember that at the beginning of the story, before they even came to the ranch, George told Lennie that if anything happened, he should go to the clearing where they stayed the night before they went to the ranch.
22. A) What do the men suppose happened to Carlson’s gun? B) Why is this hard to believe? C) What is the greater implication of the missing gun?
The men think that Lennie took Carlson’s gun, but this is out of character for Lennie, who most likely would not know how to operate it if he had it. George has taken the gun. He is the one person who had the opportunity and the time to take the gun. The reader should begin to understand what George is going to have to do in order to save Lennie. The men want to kill Lennie, but George realizes that it is his duty to kill him first.
23. Why do the men want George to come with them?
The men want George to come so they do not think that he has anything to do with the murder.
24. Steinbeck could have concluded the chapter with the men headed off in search of Lennie. Instead, Steinbeck returns to the barn where Candy is staying with the dead body. Why do you think Steinbeck chose to close the chapter in this way?
The ending is a morose look at what happens to men when their dreams are taken away. Steinbeck does not want to focus on the violence and vengeance that might define this incident, but instead he focuses on Candy’s defeated expression. While a theme in the novel suggests that the weak attack the weaker, the reader should recognize that Steinbeck is trying to point out that all the men are weak as they try to survive the Depression. They are all victims of their situation.
25. How does the focus of the narration change at the end of the chapter?
The focus of the narration shifts to explore George’s actions and reactions to what has happened.
1. Compare the beginning of Chapter Six with the beginning of the novel. Explain why Steinbeck would begin this chapter in the same way that he began the first?
The story has come full circle—not just in where the story begins and ends, but also in how Lennie’s pattern of hurting something innocent is repeated. Steinbeck repeats many of the same images that introduce the novel. Nature is delightful and peaceful, but ultimately, men and their inhumane, violent actions threaten nature. Lennie seems to find solace in nature; he wants to escape to nature when he thinks about how angry George is going to be. This is the one time that Lennie remembers what George has told him.
2. Steinbeck uses an image of nature to comment on the action at the ranch. Describe the image and explain its connection to the themes in the novel.
The images Steinbeck presents at the beginning of the chapter suggest that nature is peaceful and calming. He describes mountains, sunlight, and silver leaves. However, in the midst of this natural beauty, the image of a large bird trying to catch its dinner looms over the serenity. The image of the heron suggests that, despite the idyllic surroundings, for any weaker creature death can come in a second, just as death came to the mouse, Candy’s dog, the pup, and Curley’s wife.
3. What delusion does Lennie experience as he is waiting for George? Why do you think he remembers this experience?
As Lennie is waiting for George, he remembers a “little fat old woman. She wore thick bull’seye glasses and she wore a huge gingham apron with pockets, and she was starched and clean” (pp. 100-101). The woman is Aunt Clara who used to try to help Lennie. He remembers being scolded and reminded that he was keeping George from accomplishing his dreams. While Lennie does not usually remember his Aunt Clara, or even the instructions that George has given him, he has just experienced a traumatic event. This event has triggered memories that he has of making mistakes in the past. Lennie also has a vision of a large rabbit. The large rabbit is symbolic of Lennie’s fear that George will not let him take care of the rabbits on the farm. The vision of the rabbit is similar to the conversation that Lennie had with Crooks when Crooks tried to tell him that George might not come back for him.
4. When George finds Lennie, what does Lennie expect him to do? How does George respond?
Lennie thinks that George is going to yell at him for what he has done. Lennie needs the reassurance and the repetition of how George responded in the past so he can feel as if everything is going to be all right. George goes through the motions and repeats the words that Lennie knows by heart and tells him the story of the farm one more time. However, this time, George goes through the motions without any emotion. George is too sad, and being angry with Lennie is useless. George knows what must be done in order to save Lennie from the wrath of the other men.
5. How does the reader know that Lennie does not realize that he has done something wrong?
Lennie does not seem to realize that he has done something as serious as killing a human being. He treats Curley’s wife’s death the same as the puppy’s death. He thinks that everything will be the same once George has yelled at him. Page 104 ‘Lennie looked eagerly at him. ‘Go on, George. Ain’t you gonna give me no more hell?”
6. How is the fact that George tells Lennie the story of the farm significant?
As George tells the story of the farm, he is basically giving up on his dream. He realizes that his dream of owning a farm is never going to come true, and he is going to be the same kind of man he bunks with at the ranch. He uses this last telling of the story as a catharsis, a release of the hope he has held on to for years.
7. The story of the ranch seems to embody the main theme of the novel. What does Steinbeck emphasize through the dream of the ranch?
At the ranch the men will be sure to have each other around to take care of each other. They will have a companion, which is something that many of the men do not have now. A main theme in the novel is about the loneliness of these men on the road. By assuring each other that they will be together on the farm, they are ensuring that they will never be lonely. Lennie needs this assurance so he can die peacefully, with the dream still fresh in his mind.
8. How does George’s responsibility in killing Lennie parallel the situation between Candy and his dog?
Earlier in the novel, Candy tells George that he would rather have been the one to shoot his old dog. Candy feels badly because he let Carlson kill his dog, especially since he had the dog since it was a pup. George is in the same position. He knows that the men are going to kill Lennie, but he cannot let someone else hurt him because he has been taking care of Lennie for most of his life.
9. What is George trying to accomplish by shooting Lennie before the other men come to do it?
George sees shooting Lennie as the only alternative since the other men want to kill Lennie. George sees his actions as a mercy killing—what one friend would do for another if in the same situation.
10. Who ultimately understands what happened between Lennie and George? Why are the other men unable to understand?
Slim is the only man on the ranch who seems to have a greater understanding of the relationships that people have between one another. The other men, probably because of their continued isolation from one another, are unable to understand the bond that Lennie and George have. They do not understand why George would need to be consoled, especially after he just told them that he shot Lennie out of self-defense.
11. Explain the significance of the final statement in the novel.
Carlson says, “Now what the hell ya suppose is eatin’ them two guys?” (p. 107). Carlson represents an uncaring member of society who does not feel any compassion over the death of the two innocents. The final comment highlights the nature of men in the Depression, as well as the theme of loneliness and lack of camaraderie that exists between men.
1. Contrasts and Contradictions: Why would the character act (feel) this way? 2. Aha Moment: How might this change things? 3. Tough Questions: What does this question make me wonder about? 4. Words of the Wiser: What’s the life lesson and how might it affect the character? 5. Again and Again: Why might the author bring this up again and again? 6. Memory Moment: Why might this memory be important