Of Mice and Men Annotations

“George’s hand remained outstretched imperiously. Slowly, like a terrier who doesn’t want to bring the ball to its master, Lennie approached, drew back, and approached again. George snapped his fingers sharply, and at the sound Lennie laid the mouse in his hand” (Steinbeck, 8).Steinbeck makes an interesting connection between the relationships of Lennie and George, and a dog and its master. A dog, which Steinbeck has chosen to symbolize Lennie, represents loyalty and obedience. A master, which Steinbeck has chosen to symbolize George, represents leadership, power and strength. This shows that George has power and  ownership over Lennie. George abuses this relationship of power by controlling Lennie’s actions to his advantage. For instance “ “Used to play jokes on ‘im because he was too dumb to take care of ‘imself…Why he’d do any damn thing I tol’ him. If I tol’ him to walk over a cliff, over he’d go” ”(38).   That example further proves how he uses Lennie’s trust and obedience for his entertainment.“ “An’ you ain’t to be trusted with no live mice. Your Aunt Clara give you a rubber mouse and you wouldn’t have nothing to do with it ” ” (9).This quotation portrays disabled people in negative light. Lennie, a person with a disability, is shown to be untrustworthy, juvenile and irresponsible.  As there is one person in the novel with a disability, it reinforces the stereotype that people with disabilities are often incompetent. “She had full rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made up. Her fingernails were red. Her hair hung in little rolled clusters, like sausages. She wore a cotton house dress and red ostrich feathers.” (Steinbeck, 29)When Steinbeck introduces male characters, he describes them by their personality traits. Curley’s wife, the only female character in the novel, is described solely by her appearance. This quotation reinforces the ideology that women exist for the purpose of entertainment for men, and beauty. In addition, Curley’s wife is treated like property to Curley. She is only addressed to as “Curley’s wife”, instead of her proper name. Furthermore, there have been many instances in the novel of Curley looking for his wife. The other characters reprimand him, and tell him that he should look after her more, as if his wife is his personal possession.“Lennie covered his face with his huge paws and bleated with terror.” (Steinbeck, 60)This quotation shows how people with disabilities are perceived more animal-like, than human-like. The word “paw” is associated with the foot of animal, having claws and pads.  The word “bleat” is associated as the cry of an animal, mostly a sheep, goat or calf. Steinbeck, introduces the idea that people with disabilities are are wild, and uncontrollable. “He said accusingly, “You gotta husban’. You got no foolin’ aroun’ with other guys, causin’ trouble.” ” (Steinbeck, 74)This quotation represents women in a negative light. It demonstrates the sexualization of women as the men thought the only reason Curley’s wife was talking to them was for a sexual purpose, and “trouble”. Curley’s wife is thought of as disloyal when she is making conversation with men other than her husband. However, if Curley were to talk to women other than his wife, he would be described with positive words, such as sociable and friendly.“ “If you go right now, we won’t tell Curley you was here.” ” (Steinbeck, 77)This is an example of Curley having ownership, or responsibility over his wife. Curley’s wife is not able to make decisions herself; the other men act as if Curley is in control over her. From the quotation, the men are threatening to tell her husband if she does not leave the area.“Lennie turned his head and looked off across the pool and up the darkening slopes of the Gabilans.” (Steinbeck, 100)I found this quotation interesting. Light often symbolizes hope and goodness. The opposite, darkness, symbolizes evil and bad. As Steinbeck describes the slopes darkening, it is an omen that something bad would follow: Lennie’s death. Lightness and darkness is also used throughout the novel.“George looked over at Slim and saw the calm, God-like eyes fastened on him” (38)Steinbeck’s writing style is very unique, and I believe this is one of his strongest and most interesting quotes in the entire novel.  In this particular quotation, Slim’s eyes have been compared to those of a God. A God  represents comfort and authority. There is a famous quote that states “eyes are the window to the soul”. At this point in the novel, George was hesitant to share his past experiences with Lennie to Slim. However, after taking a look into Slim’s “God-like eyes”, he also looked into his soul and saw comfort, and authority, which allowed him to feel comfortable to confide in  Slim. In addition, Slim does not only provide comfort and authority to George, but symbolizes a God-like figure to  everyone on the ranch. I have observed that at every significant point in the novel, Slim is always in attendance. For example on page 45 “Candy looked a long time at Slim to try to find some reversal. And Slim gave him none. At last, Candy said softly and hopelessly, “Awright-take ’im.” ” This shows that Slim is looked upon for affirmation in the making of  momentous and important decisions.

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