February 1

Lennie, who had been watching, imitated George exactly.

Dear Students,

On Tuesday you will write a flash draft essay on Tuesday in class, after the vocabulary quiz, about one aspect of author’s craft that you have noticed in Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.   So, please make sure you have re-read the ENTIRE novella before you write this blog post. Then write a paragraph or two exploring the ideas and evidence you plan to discuss in your essay.  Remember, it is not enough to have noticed a particular craft tmove, you need to develop a theory about why Steinbeck employed that move.  What lesson is he teaching?  What concept about human nature or the human condition is he highlighting and to what purpose?  Keep asking, “So what?” until you’ve come to some kind of realization you can share in your essay.

You may be wondering what I mean by realization, so let me show you what I mean in the next paragraphs.

I’ve shared with the class that I have thought a lot about the concept of hands and how often hands are discussed in this short text.  Not only hands, actually, but damaged hands or the lack of hands come into focus as well.  Well, so what?  Who cares?

A realization that I might discuss in an essay is that our hands are symbolic of our humanity. I believe I mentioned that what is often cited as an aspect of our anatomy that sets humans apart from the animals is our hands’ opposable thumbs (with the exception of apes — but there are no apes in California or in Steinbeck’s novel).  So, I would examine what each character uses is hands for and how he uses them.  I’d also look carefully at the scenes where Candy describes how he lost his hand and where Lennie destroys Curley’s hand, to see if I can find any further insight.  It seems to me that Curley is so nasty that perhaps he is punished by losing part of his humanity?  Or perhaps his manliness?  Oh!  And I have to examine that disgusting part about the vaseline again.   Anyway, if hands represent our humanity, does that mean that Curley is inhuman?  But he seems pretty realistic to me.  There are people  like that:  mean, nasty, always picking a fight.  So maybe it’s not his humanity, but his masculinity, in that sort of macho sense of masculinity?

In all honesty, I’m not sure that I will stay with this realization or theory, but I am going to start with it and keep asking questions like, “But what about…?” “Or could it be…?” until I find a theory I think fits the whole novel best.  And I want you to do the same thing!   (See the quotation above.)

But don’t forget the vocabulary.  I’ve made the quiz and it will be the same format as all the others we’ve had.

Have a lovely three-day weekend with lots of reading and lots of deep thinking.

With all good wishes,

Ms. Quinson


Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.

Posted February 1, 2019 by equinson in category Of Mice and Men

15 thoughts on “Lennie, who had been watching, imitated George exactly.

  1. jane

    After rereading the novella, “Of Mice and Men”, by John Steinback, I began to think a lot about the meanings of the characters’ actions, and why certain things happened. After brainstorming for a long time about what the author is trying to say and why intentions are significant in the story, I came to a realization. I realized that John Steinback is trying to say that there is more than what meets the eye. I label this as my theory because I think it is important to dive into some characters and their story, which will help to understand the intentions of characters. There are several things I would like to examine, such as looking into the differences of Lennie’s appearance vs. his personality, Curely’s wife’s appearance vs. her personality, and Lennie and Curley’s fight. I think that these examples are great to use to show that there is more to a person that what one might see at first.

  2. Myles Ng

    After our discussion in class I was really focused on one topic, but never figured our the “so what?” After re- reading the book I think I found the “so what?” In class my group and I noticed the similarity between the book and the poem “To a Mouse.”. In the poem the last two stanzas really stuck me as similar to the book.

    “But Mousie, thou art no thy-lane,
    In proving foresight may be vain:
    The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
    Gang aft agley,
    An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
    For promis’d joy!

    Still, thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me!
    The present only toucheth thee:
    But Och! I backward cast my e’e,
    On prospects drear!
    An’ forward tho’ I canna see,
    I guess an’ fear!”
    Lennie who has somewhat of a mental handicap is not the best at remembering things. In the poem it states that humans are affected by the past, but Lennie is not. Does this make him less of a human or a greater person? Though not technically “human” he is still a better person than most on the ranch. Most of the people there are pugnacious, racist, and down right mean, but Lennie is none of those. He doesn’t feel the complex feelings and emotions everyone else does. I think what John Steinbeck is saying about the human nature is that we are no better than the animals, we still have a bad side, like how Curley picks fights with everyone. There was also many similarities with the actions of the characters and the second to last stanza of the poem. This lead to me wondering are each of these characters either mouse or man, or animal or beast?

  3. Mikayla Friedman

    After rereading the novella Of Mice and Men, a recurring symbol that I noticed is the rabbit. From the beginning of the novel to the end, Lennie is constantly talking about his dreams of taking care of his rabbits on his and George’s own farm. Every time George retells the story of how they’re going to “live off the fatta the lan'”, Lennie always brings up the rabbits. I then came to the realization that Steinbeck is using rabbits as a symbol for Lennie’s dreams. He dreams of living on his own farm, and the rabbits are associated with that dream. At the end of the novella, when Lennie is having visions of his aunt Clara before George comes to kill him, Lennie envisions a big rabbit. This is quite literally a dream, because Lennie is obviously not seeing an actual rabbit in front of him. Therefore, the constant symbol of rabbits in Of Mice and Men represents Lennie’s dreams.

  4. Emma Garbowitz

    Throughout the novella, Of Mice and Men, a realization that I have made was the George and Lennie’s relationship evolved from the beginning of the novel all the way to the end of the novel. When the novella began, Lennie was always obedient to George and did whatever he was told. Then, towards the middle of the novella, George still was looking out for Lennie but less than usual. He let him go off alone, without anyone to guide him. Finally at the end of the novel, George contradicts his own self by killing Lennie for the greater good but betrayed Lennie for no longer looking out for him. By this point, their relationship broke apart. By doing this John Steinbeck is teaching the reader a valuable lesson. He is teaching the reader that no matter how well things are going, anything can taking a turn for the worse. Also, the people that you trust the most could be the people that hurt you in the end. As their relationship evolves and George leaves Lennie in the dust these themes grow, and become more apparent to the reader.

  5. Kate

    A craft move that I have noticed in Of Mice and Men is that Steinback uses symbolism and foreshadowing of mice in his novella. The symbolism of the mice that Lennie has killed by petting symbolizes vulnerability/innocence and the mice foreshadows Curely’s wife and Lennies fate at the end of the novella. These mice allude to the point in which Steinback portrays that innocent creatures such as Lennie and Curely’s wife can not escape their fate. This is very big in Of Mice and Men as the whole story was crafted off this idea of vulnerable and innocent people can not escape their fate, which is connected the motif of dreams. Curely’s wife dreamed of being in movies, yet she couldn’t escape the fate of death. Lennie dreamed of his house and tending the rabbits but he still died at the end. Another reason for these dead mice would be foreshadowing the deaths of the two most innocent characters, Lennie and Curely’s wife. In Steinbacks’s novella, there’s a deeper meaning to everything and the most important one is the symbolism and foreshadowing of the mice.

  6. Zoe

    A craft move I noticed while rereading Of Mice And Men is the way they used Loneliness as a motive for many huge events in the story. Loneliness acted as a barrier between a person and everyone else. This prevents any interaction which makes them extremely depressed and leads them to do whatever it takes to become less lonely like telling their stories or even being near someone. This is exactly what many characters do such as Crooks, Curley’s Wife, and even George. Curley’s Wife expressed her loneliness directly to Candy, Crooks, and Lennie when they were in the barn and said she could never talk to anyone besides Curley. She explained how she doesn’t love him and she’s lonely in the house and only comes out to talk so she can be with someone and actually talk to them without being made into a villain. “Well, I ain’t giving you no trouble. Think I don’t like to talk to somebody ever’ once in a while? Think I like to stick in that house alla time?” pg.77. This loneliness led her to desperately talk to Lennie, who was the stupidest around, one on one and actually get to talk to someone without being accused of fooling around, which eventually led to her death. Crooks in this scene way before Curley’s Wife came into the picture also explained his loneliness. Crooks started off very harshly when Lennie was at the door as if he wanted to be alone, however, after a little while it was clear he wanted to share his story because every time Lennie offered to go Crooks would say no and even offer him a seat. He talked about how his loneliness was because he was the only colored person on the farm. This boundary of the race left him lonely, yet soon he forgot it and even listened to Lennie tell his dream and offered to be a part of it. His loneliness led him to forget about his race entirely for a chance at being on a farm with someone like he was with his family before. However, Curley’s Wife came into the picture and reminded him of his race. Listen, Nigger,” she said. “You know what I can do to you if you open your trap?”pg.80. He then accepted his loneliness and forgot about the dream entirely. Lastly, George’s loneliness also led him to do important scenes. He talked about how he never had a family when he was younger and adopted Lennie like a brother. He never left Lennie because they were together the whole time and he would never be lonely with him. However, once they got to the new ranch in this book, George immediately found a new pack of friends who would keep him company like Slim and Candy who even offered to help with their dream. I think this led him to eventually killing Lennie because at this point he knew he had someone else who could keep him company and didn’t need Lennie anymore. Loneliness was definitely a motive for many to do very important events in the story and was a part of many people’s backstories.

  7. Emily

    After rereading the novella Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, one craft move that really stood out was the theme of beginnings and ends. In many important scenes the readers are able to notice that when something important is going to happens, the sene will start in the same way that it ends. This can be seen when Lennie and Candy go into Crooks room. When they first enter Crooks could be seen applying liniment to his back, and then when they leave he begins to put liniment on his back again. Once again, in what some would consider the most important scenes, Steinbeck opens and closes the book in the same exact setting. Although these two scenes are crucial to the novel, sometimes Steinbeck does not directly use a scene as a way to support the theme of beginnings and endings. In one case when George is playing solitaire Lennie asks why cards are the same on both sides. While some may try to argue that these scenes are not that important, or that it is just a coincidence that they begin and end in the same way; this could not be further from the truth. Steinbeck includes this theme as a way to show that although something big happens, it does not mean that it will actually change anything in society. When Candy and Lennie break the social norm by entering a black man’s private living quarters, it does not mean that all of society will follow or even that it will ever happen again. When Steinbeck wrote it so the book began and ended in the same place, he is sending the message that nothing will actually happen as a change in society as a result of Lennie’s death. Lennie was a crucial character in the novel, but his death will not really affect operations on the farm. Although minor things will change, like they will have one less worker, and Curley will probably be even crueler since his wife is dead; nothing major will change. After all, Lennie and Crooks are both outcasts. They are not a part of actual society. If a normal white person died the effect on life would be greater than if a black man is insulted and threatened or if a mentally disabled man is killed.

  8. johnh1

    While discussing the book on friday my group talked about the title. It refers to the poem, “To a Mouse”. In the poem the narrator talks about how the mouse is blessed compared to him because the mouse is affected only by the present but the narrator can remember the mistakes of the past and can fear the future. This reminds me of Lennie. Lennie can’t remember things and is related to Animals several times in the book. However, Lennie is very kind, better than almost everyone at the farm. This seems to say that Lennie isn’t fully human but it doesn’t mean he is worse than them. This could be a statement on how flawed humans are.

  9. jaclynl

    After rereading “Of Mice and Men,” I was definitely able to understand and analyze the text much easier. This is because while reading the second time, I made sure to look out for parts of the text that I never noticed during the first read. Specifically, something that stood out to me and a few others in my group was the use of dogs. Candy’s dog, for example, is one of his only companions. They have had each other for so long and when Candy realizes that he needs to shoot him, it is really upsetting. Then, when thinking about George and Lennie’s relationship, there are many similarities. First off, George always treats Lennie like he is his owner. He calls him “Good boy” on multiple occasions. Lennie’s behavior matches a dog perfectly, too, like when he kept a dead mouse with him. When George makes the decision to kill Lennie at the end of the novella, it reminded me a lot of what Candy did. Although Steinbeck has never made the reason for doing this quite clear, it can easily be determined that both the dog and Lennie had to die to end their suffering. The old dog was obviously having problems hearing, seeing, and walking, but Lennie was being hunted down by a group of men for a murder he did not mean to commit. The only possible way for him to get out of this situation was death, and George, his “owner,” had to do what was right. This dog-owner relationship between both sets of characters is not a coincidence. Personally, I think that Steinbeck included these two similar relationships in order to show more about Lennie and George’s friendship. The decision to kill Lennie overall just proves how much George really cares for him. Although it was going to be painful, both George and Candy had to make this sacrifice in order to do what was right.

  10. MadiR

    After rereading the novella a craft move that I noticed within the first and last chapters was imagery and symbolism. George and Lennie’s meeting place in “Of Mice and Men” is an example of imagery, the visually descriptive language in a literary work. Steinbeck uses imagery to describe George and Lennie’s meeting pace in great detail, in the beginning of the novella and the end. This description creates the setting. George and Lennie’s meeting place is also symbolic. The meeting place represents, the biblical Garden of Eden. Steinbeck uses the symbol of the Garden of Eden to show the reader that the meeting place is so peaceful it can be compared to this place. After I finished reading I remembered the story of Cain and Abel that was introduced to us in the beginning of the process of reading “Of Mice and Men”. George and Lennie are symbolic for Cain and Abel from from bible. In the story Cain kills Abel and in “Of Mice and Men” George kills Lennie. In this natural place George and Lennie can be themselves. Steinbeck adds this place to introduce the main characters and to show their progression through novella. He also uses George and Lennie’s meeting place to get reader predicting and foreshadowing.

  11. stephaniec

    After reading the novella for a second time, I noticed symbolism being shown in Lennie’s death. Candy’s dog was old and smelly, and in the end, he was shot in the back of the head. Similarly, Lennie is innocent, but is killed by George because he was doing more good than bad. Both Lennie and Candy’s dog were seen as burdens to the people on the ranch. As a result, the people on the ranch decided that in order to get rid of the burden, they needed to kill the dog and Lennie. In addition, they thought that killing Lennie and the dog would put them out of their misery.

  12. Sophie

    Tomorrow I plan to discuss the symbolism of paws. Paws have been mentioned a good amount of times, however every single time it was mentioned it was about Lennie. This fascinated me, and made me think, why Lennie?
    Lennie was shown to have paws and portray pawing actions because the paws represent his personality. It represents his inner personality and his outer actions. The definition of paws are the feet of animals that have claws for gripping things and soft pads for walking on. If you think about it, Lennie’s personality fits all of those descriptions. He grips onto George in the sense of co dependence. The soft pads are the softness and love inside of his heart. The pads are what the animals walk on, and that is portrayed through Lennie’s gullibility. Crooks walked all over him when he tricked him into thinking that George wasn’t coming back. Then, when it comes to the action of pawing someone, the dictionary says, “If one person paws another, or paws at them, they touch or stroke them in a way that the other person finds offensive”. This describes Lennie is every single physical encounter he’s had. He has disturbed the woman in the red dress from weed, Curley, Curley’s wife, and pretty much every animal he has touched. He means no harm, because of the softness inside of him, but it is extremely offensive to the other person, and usually causes harm.
    The reason that paws are important is because they display Lennie’s personality, and Lennie’s personality shapes the entire book. The whole reason why they are on the new ranch is because Lennie got them kicked out of Weed. The whole reason why the ending was so tragic was because of Lennie. Lennie’s character was the reason that the book had action and adventure. The inclusion of Lennie’s symbolism of paws helps the reader to deeper understand the story line as a whole and highlights the human nature of Lennie himself, and how his unique nature shapes the novella.

  13. Brishti

    While I re-read “Of Mice and Men”, I paid attention to the things that certain characters want. Usually, every character in a piece of literature has an ultimate goal that they strive for. A common pattern that I noticed was that many of the characters want a form of freedom. That got me thinking about the theme of freedom, which led me to think about confinement as well. It made me ask questions about how the two are correlated, what they mean for different people, and why these two are important. The ideas surrounding both freedom and confinement made me think of the different foms confinement takes. Is it always literal, or can someone be confined by figurative aspects such as guilt? When George and Candy think about what they would do with Lennie after he killed Curley’s wife, why does George want to kill Lennie over keeping him confined in prison? And since George decides on killing Lennie, does he think that he is confining him through death, or allowing him more freedom through death? After Lennie is gone, will George feel more free to do whatever he wants, or is he confined by his guilt, like mentioned earlier? Tomorrow, I plan to discuss these ideas that relate to the theme of freedom and confinement, and I will show how they relate to specific characters, such as George, Lennie, Crooks, Candy, and Curley’s Wife.

  14. angelicac1

    After reading the novella, “Of Mice and Men,” by John Steinbeck, I noticed how the loneliness that the characters feel, causes very intimate desires of company. For example, Crooks and Curley’s wife are considered the real outcasts at the ranch because of the fact that they’re trapped in isolated lives. These two characters both have similar reactions to when they both converse with Lennie and their reactions show us how much they have been longing for somebody to talk to. They both feel like they have nobody that will ever be there for them. Crooks feels this as the only African American on the ranch that is distanced from all the workers and Curley’s wife feels this as the only female on the ranch that is always disrespected and stereotyped. The presence of the loneliness in these characters’ lives shaped up the way they acted. Loneliness caused Crooks to purposely isolate and distance himself from the workers in order to avoid them from shunning him. Yet when Crooks receives company from Lennie, he finds satisfaction from making Lennie feel that he will be lonely once George isn’t in his life anymore. Curley’s wife spends her days being hounded by her husband and she dislikes it because she knows she isn’t being surrounded love. Her husband makes her feel like she’s a possession and an object so in order to find other company, she wanders around the ranch, attempting to reach out to the other workers. Her actions only result with her earning the reputation of a flirt which causes the workers to push away Curley’s wife more and more which only causes her more loneliness.

  15. trinityt

    After rereading the novella “Of Mice and Men” I noticed that the author, Steinbeck, uses techniques such as revealing actions and dialogue to support the motif of dream vs. reality. In this novella, there are multiple characters and scenes that are more dream-like or more realistic than the other. For example, Lennie and Curley’s wife are the “dreamers” while Crooks is the realistic one. For Lennie, he kept thinking about this dream place where he and Lennie, and Candy would stay at. There would be a house for all of them, there will be chickens, cows, and rabbits for Lennie. The setting of this dream place is like a peaceful farm-like setting. As for Curley’s wife, she mentioned that she wanted to be a star, like an actress. She wanted to be rich, stays at fancy hotels, be on interviews, and be on shows. Both Lennie and Curley’s wife have dreams of their own, and would like to achieve them. Unfortunately, they didn’t. Lennie wanted to go to his dream place with George and Candy, and to have rabbits, but in reality, he died before that could happen. For Curley’s wife, she wanted to be an actress/star, and to be rich and fancy, but in reality, she ended up marrying Curley (which she doesn’t really like), didn’t get to achieve her dream, and she died. On the other hand, Crooks, unlike Lennie and Curley’s wife, is more of a realistic person and doesn’t really have dreams like Lennie and Curley’s wife. At one point, when he was talking with Lennie and Candy about that dream place, he did considered to go with them, but at the end of that chapter, he decided not to. I noticed that at the end of the novella, Lennie and Curley’s wife, the “dreamers”, has had something terrible happened to them both; they both died. Their character and dreams is what led them to their tragic fate. Lennie, wanting to feel something nice and fury (like the rabbits) with his hands is what caused him to killed Curley’s wife accidentally, which will led to his death at the end of the story, and Curley’s wife’s desire to talk to someone about her dream of becoming a star is what caused her own death when she decided to talk to Lennie, which led to him killing her not on purpose. Unlike these two characters, Crooks didn’t died, and he doesn’t have dreams like Lennie and Curley’s wife. After some deep thoughts and organizing my thoughts, I came to a realization of what Steinbeck could be trying to tell us through these actions (and dialogue). I realized that he could be trying to tell us that not everything has a happy ending and that life is not a fairy tale. Life is not a fairy tale/movie where you have a dream and you ended up achieving it and live happily ever after. Unfortunately no, life is not like that. In real life, some dreams are possible to achieve while others are not. Dreams that are not possible to achieve can even get in the way of your life if you’re not careful. For example, if your dream is to seriously become a, let say, real life fairy, then that is going to have more of a negative impact on your life, but if your dream is to become a doctor, which is more realistic, then yes, you could achieve that by studying and working hard. Dreams can also be motivational as well. It depends on the situation. I think that the characters and scenes above are good examples to show the motif of dream vs. reality.


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