Of Mice And Men Plot Chapter 1 – George and Lennie camp in the brush by a pool, the night before starting new jobs as ranch hands. George finds Lennie stroking a dead mouse in his pocket. He complains that caring for Lennie prevents him from living a freer life. We find out that Lennie’s innocent petting of a girl’s dress led them to losing their last jobs in Weed. However when they talk about their dream of getting a piece of land together, we know they really depend on each other. Chapter 2 – When they arrive at the ranch in the morning, George and Lennie are shown around by old Candy.
They meet their boss and, later, his son Curley – George is suspicious of Curley’s manner and warns Lennie to stay away from him. They see Curley’s pretty and apparently flirtatious wife and meet some of their fellow workers, Slim and Carlson. Chapter 3 – Later that evening, George tells Slim about why he and Lennie travel together and more about what happened in Weed. The men talk about Candy’s ancient dog, which is tired and ill. Carlson shoots it, as an act of kindness. George tells Candy about their dream of getting a piece of land and Candy eagerly offers to join them – he has money, so they could make it happen almost immediately.
Curley provokes Lennie into a fight, which ends up with Lennie severely injuring Curley’s hand. Chapter 4 – The following night, most men on the ranch go into town. Crooks is alone in his room when Lennie joins him. They talk about land – Crooks is sceptical, not believing that George and Lennie are going to do what so many other men he’s known have failed to do, and get land of their own. Yet when Candy happens to come in as well, Crooks is convinced and asks to be in on it too. Curley’s wife arrives. She threatens Crooks and an argument develops.
Crooks realises that can never really be apart of George, Lennie and Candy’s plan. Chapter 5 – Next afternoon, Lennie accidentally kills the puppy Slim had given him by petting it to much and he is sad. Curley’s wife finds him and starts talking very openly about her feelings. She invites Lennie to stroke her soft hair, but he does it so strongly she panics and he ends up killing her too. He runs away to hide, as George had told him. Candy finds the body and tells George. They tell the other men – Curley wants revenge. Chapter 6 – Lennie hides in the brush by the pool.
He dreams of his Aunt Clara and the rabbits he will tend when he and George get their land. George finds Lennie and talks reassuringly to him about the little place they will have together – then shoots him with Carlson’s gun. When the other men find George, they assume he shot Lennie in self-defence. Only Slim understands what George did and why. Timeline Some Time Before Lennie petted a girl’s red dress, but she thought he was trying to attack her and accused him of rape. George and Lennie hide in an irrigation ditch all day until the lynch mob hunting them has gone. Thursday Evening
George and Lennie camp in the brush. Friday Morning 10 A. M George and Lennie arrive at the ranch and meet the men. Afternoon George and Lennie join the workers bucking barley. Lennie impresses everyone with his strength. Evening – In The Bunk House Candy’s dog is shot, but hopes are raised when Candy offers his money to buy land. The fight takes place between Lennie and Curley. Saturday Evening Lennie, Candy and Curley’s wife gather in Crooks’ room. Sunday Afternoon Lennie kills his puppy, then kills Curley’s wife. Sunday Evening George finds Lennie hiding in the brush and shoots him.
Notice how all of the action is concentrated into only a few days? This makes it much more dramatic: one event follows on from another in quick succession. There is a sense of inevitability – we sense that there will be no way out for Lennie. Notice the time of day that various incidents take place. Lennie and George arrive on the ranch in the morning, early in the day, when possibilities are open; Lennie dies as the sun is setting. Do you think this suggests that Lennie’s death was ‘right’? The sun sets when a day is complete, so does Lennie die when his life is ‘complete’?
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