Chapter One

The scene is peaceful, like Eden: ‘deep and green’ ‘warm’ ‘golden’.
George and Lennie appear as anonymous, typical migrant workers: ‘both wore’ the same thing, but George is ‘sharp’, and Lennie is ‘his opposite’ ‘huge’ ‘shapeless’ like a ‘bear’ ‘the follower’ ‘like a horse’ ‘big paw’ ‘imitated George exactly’

George uses a lot of violent language: “bastard” is repeated frequently and he seems unusually angry about a dead mouse, also violently angry with Lennie as he uses words like “hell” and “trouble”. There’s an ominous mood: George says “do no bad things like you done in Weed”

Why do they stick together?

George says ‘I could live so easy’ without you” and says: “blubberin’ like a baby” “a big guy like you”. This shows Lennie’s helplessness, but also that he’s dangerous: ‘you always killed em.”
“live so easy” “no trouble. No mess”
But Lennie loves the companionship: ‘Lennie’s face was drawn with terror’ ‘anguished’
George “I want you to stay with me. Trouble with mice is you always kill ‘em”

The Dream:
“Guys like us that work on ranches are the loneliest guys in the world… We got a future.”
Lennie says: “because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you.’

Chapter Two

In the Bunkhouse: Candy: ‘no hand.’

When the Boss Enters:
George about Lennie “strong as a bull”
Boss “I never seen one guy take so much trouble for another guy.”
George lies: “He’s my cousin””got kicked in the head by a horse when he was a kid.”

Candy’s dog

‘pale, blind old eyes’ ‘struggled lamely’ and ‘moth-eaten’ “I had ‘im ever since he was a pup”
Candy: says Curley is “picking scraps” “he’s worse lately” “got married” “Curley says he’s keepin’ that hand soft for his wife”
Candy on Curley’s Wife: “she got the eye””I think Curley’s married … a tart”

Enter Curley’s Wife

‘the rectangle of sunshine in the doorway was cut off’; ‘a girl’ ‘full, rouged lips’ ‘wide’ eyes ‘heavily made up’, fingernails ‘red’, ‘red mules’ ‘red ostrich feathers’. Her voice was ‘nasal, brittle’. ‘her body’ is repeated twice.
George “Jesus, what a tramp.” / Lennie “she’s purty”
G “Don’t you even take a look at that bitch” “poison”

Slim says: “Ain’t many guys travel around together” “Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other”

Chapter THREE

Slim: “seems kinda funny a cuckoo like him and a smart guy like you travellin’ together”

George: “If I was bright … I’d have my own little place” On him and Lennie “Got kinda used to each other” “too dumb to take care of ‘imself” made me seem “smart alongside of him”

Slim and George both say that Lennie: “ain’t mean” “There ain’t no more harm in than a kid neither, except he’s so strong”

Carlson: “that dog stinks”, “shoot him” Candy says: “I had ‘im too long”

General Chitchat about THE DREAM

George “Me an’ Lennie’s gonna roll up a stake”

George: “She’s gonna make a mess … a bad mess.” “Ranch with a bunch of guys on it ain’t no place for a girl, specially like her.”

Lennie is childlike, asking “why” and saying “I don’t know what for”, he also forgets easily. He asks again about their dream to “get that little place an’ live on the fatta the lan’ – an’ rabbits?”
George tells the story again: ‘Old Candy turned slowly over. His eyes were wide open.’

George: “When we put in a crop, why, we’d be there to take the crop up. We’d know what come of our planting.”
This ends on an ominous note:
“you gotta watch out them cats don’t get the little rabbits.”
Lennie reacts violently:
“I’ll break their God damn necks. I’ll… I’ll smash ’em with a stick”

‘When Candy spoke they both jumped as though they had been caught doing something reprehensible.’

Candy“S’pose I went in with you guys.” He has $350.
‘They looked at one another, amazed. The thing they had never really believed in was coming true.’

Candy: “They’ll can me purty soon.” “When they can me here I wisht somebody’d shot me.”

Candy: “I ought to of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn’t ought to of let no stranger shoot my dog.”
The Fight
Lennie ‘looked helplessly at George’; Curley ‘slashed’ ‘smashed’ ‘slugging him in the face’
Lennie: ‘cry of terror’ ‘Blood’
George yelled “I said get him.” (he has to say it twice)
Curely’s ‘fist lost in Lennie’s paw’ Lennie: “I di’nt mean no harm.”

Chapter Four
This chapter has some of the best quotations on loneliness, friendship and prejudice

‘being a stable buck and a cripple, he was more permanent than the other men’ ‘he had books too’ ‘tattered dictionary‘ and ‘mauled copy of the California civil code‘ ‘large gold-rimmed spectacles’ ‘thin, pain-tightened lips’

Lennie smiled ‘helplessly’ trying to ‘make friends’ (theme of friendship)
Crooks speaks ‘sharply’ ‘You got no right’ to come in ‘Nobody got any right in here but me’ ‘right’ is repeated semantic field of human rights)
Lennie asks naively: “Why ain’t you wanted?”
Crooks “‘Cause I’m black.”

Loneliness and Cruelty: “They say I stink. Well, I tell you, you all of you stink to me.”
Crooks tells Lennie (cruelly) what would happen if George left him: “They’ll take ya to the booby hatch. They’ll tie ya up with a collar, like a dog.” (this idea is repeated later – it’s also an example of animal imagery)

Crooks: “A guy needs somebody—to be near him.” “A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody.” “a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick.”

“every damn one of ‘em’s got a little piece of land in his head. An’ never a God damn one of ‘em ever gets it. Just like heaven.  … Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land.”

Crooks: “I never seen a guy really do it.” “I seen guys nearly crazy with loneliness for land, but ever’ time a whore house or a blackjack game took what it takes.”

Curley’s Wife Enters (looking for Curley who she knows is at the brothel):
“They left all the weak ones here.” She kicks back because the men are always cruel to her.

Curley’s Wife says: “You’re all scared of each other, that’s what.” “Think I don’t like to talk to somebody ever’ once in a while?”
Shattered Dreams
“I tell ya I could of went with shows.” “a guy tol’ me he could put me in pitchers . . . .”
She complains that all she has to do is stand “talkin’ to a bunch of bindle stiffs—a nigger an’ a dum-dum and a lousy ol’ sheep—an’ likin’ it because they ain’t nobody else.” 

Crooks: “You got no rights comin’ in a colored man’s room.
Curley’s Wife says: “Listen, Nigger …I could get you strung upon a tree so easy it ain’t even funny.

Candy:“That bitch didn’t ought to of said that to you.”
Crooks: “What she says is true.” “Lennie’s a nice fella.” When the guys start to leave, he calls out: “’Member what I said about hoein’ and doin’ odd jobs?”
“Yeah,” said Candy. “I remember.”
“Well, jus’ forget it,” said Crooks. “I didn’t mean it. Jus’ foolin’. I wouldn’ want to go no place like that.”

i.e. her cruelty shatters Crooks’ brief hope

Chapter Five

The scene opens quietly: Lennie has ‘a little dead puppy’.Curley’s wife enters: “I get awful lonely.” She says about the dog “He was jus’ a mutt.”

I coulda made somethin’ of myself,” she said darkly. ‘her words tumbled out in a passion of communication’ “Hollywood” “I don’t like Curley. He ain’t a nice fella”
When she’s dead:
‘the meanness and the plannings and the discontent and the ache for attention were all gone from her face’ ‘very pretty and simple’ ‘sweet and young’
Candy: Curly will ‘get ‘im lynched’
foreboding George: “I think I knowed from the very start”
“Then it’s all off -” Candy asked sulkily.
George: “All the time he done bad things but he never done one of ‘em mean
Death of the Dream
Candy “You god damn tramp” ‘viciously’ “You done it” “You ain’t no good now you lousy tart” ‘his eyes blinded with tears’
Curley “That big son of a bitch done it”
Slim Curley will want to “shoot ‘im” suppose they “put ‘im in a cage”
Curley “Don’t give ‘im no chance. Shoot for his guts.”

Chapter Six
Similarities to the first chapter: it’s set in the same location and repeats many of the ideas from the first chapter, including the ‘heron’ which ‘swallowed the little snake’. This could represent evil being destroyed, prefiguring Lennie’s death. At the start of Chapter Six the ‘sun had left the valley’ and half way through the weather becomes extremely grim: pathetic fallacy to match the mood.
First, Lennie arrives and is talking to himself:“If George don’t want me…. I’ll go away. I’ll go away.”
Giant Talking Rabbit: George is “gonna beat hell outta you with a stick, that’s what he’s gonna do.” Lennie argues back: “he ain’t never raised his han’ to me.”   “He gonna leave ya” repeated four times. 
George Arrives:

Lennie starts to talk ‘happily’ and in ‘triumph’ “We got each other”

George talks ‘shakily’
Pathetic fallacy: shadows are ‘bluer’ ‘darkening slopes’: there are ‘crashing’ noises in the brush…G tries to retell the story: “We gonna…’Lennie “Go on.”  “Go on.” lots of repetition in short, sharp bursts “I get to tend the rabbits” ‘giggled with happiness’. There’s a very uncomfortable juxtapositon with different moods here. ‘Lennie obeyed him. George looked down the gun.’“Ever’body gonna be nice to you. Ain’t gonna be no more trouble. Nobody gonna hurt nobody nor steal from ‘em.”
Lennie begged, ‘Le’s do it now. Le’s get that place now.’
G “Sure, right now. I gotta. We gotta.”
The Shot
‘The crash of the shot rolled up the hills and rolled down again.’
‘George shivered and looked at the gun.’ then he throws it ‘back up on the bank, near the pile of old ashes.’
Slim: “You hadda, George. I swear you hadda.”
Carlson: “Now what hte hell ya suppose is eatin’ them two guys.”