Of Mice and Men – chapter 3

Move onto these once you have done chapters one and two (on the of Mice and men page)
Chapter 3
Lennie came in through the door. He wore his blue denim coat over his shoulders like a cape, and he walked hunched way over.
“Hi, Lennie,” said George. “How you like the pup now?”
Lennie said breathlessly, “He’s brown an’ white jus’ like I wanted.”
He went directly to his bunk and lay down and turned his face to the wall and drew up his knees.
George put down his cards very deliberately. “Lennie,” he said sharply.
Lennie twisted his neck and looked over his shoulder. “Huh? What you want, George?”
“I tol’ you you couldn’t bring that pup in here.”
“What pup, George? I ain’t got no pup.”
George went quickly to him, grabbed him by the shoulder and rolled him over. He reached down and picked the tiny puppy from where Lennie had been concealing it against his stomach.
Lennie sat up quickly. “Give ‘um to me, George.”
George said, “You get right up an’ take this pup back to the nest. He’s gotta sleep with his mother. You want to kill him? Just born last night an’ you take him out of the nest. You take him back or I’ll tell Slim not to let you have him.”
Lennie held out his hands pleadingly. “Give ‘um to me, George. I’ll take ‘um back. I didn’t mean no harm, George. Honest I didn’t. I jus’ wanted to pet ‘um a little.”
George handed the pup to him. “Awright. You get him back there quick, and don’t you take him out no more. You’ll kill him, the first thing you know.” Lennie fairly scuttled out of the room.
Slim had not moved. His calm eyes followed Lennie out the door.
“Jesus,” he said. “He’s jus’ like a kid, ain’t he?”

How does the writer use language to show the relationship between Lennie and George?

For a C grade:
a) Who initiates (starts) the discussion?
b) Pick out the imperatives (orders) that George uses
c) Whose action in the extract is most authoratitive?

For a B grade:
a) Compare and comment on the adverbs used to describe the way the two characters speak.
b) What does the positioning of the men – one on the bed, one standing over, suggest about their reliationship?
c) What is the effect of George explaining his reasoning to Lennie?

For an A grade
a) Lennie says, ‘Give ‘um to me, George’ – is he shown to be totally controlled by George?
b) Why do you think Lennie uses the epithet, ‘George’ so often?
c) How is Slim’s presence important to the scene and why does he add a substantiating question on the end of his statement?


26 thoughts on “Of Mice and Men – chapter 3

  1. Cassie

    Aiming for a C-
    a) In this extract George starts the discussion, even though it is Lennie who is mentioned first George starts it, he says “Hi Lennie” he then goes on to saying “How you like the pup now?” he isn’t aware yet that Lennie has stolen a puppy but he is inquisitive of how it went. He then realises by Lennie’s actions that he has stolen the puppy, Steinbeck shows this by George’s actions ” George put his cards down very deliberately.” George initiates the discussion in a good way but become more domineering towards the end of it.

    b) In this extract Steinbeck shows how George uses many imperatives, he gives Lennie many orders in the discussion one being just saying his name Steinbeck has written it in a way that you know George is giving him an order he says “Lennie” however he says this very sharply and you know it is an order. George has already given Lennie an order before this discussion he told him he wasn’t allowed to take any puppies in this extract he says “I tol’ you you couldn’t bring that pup in here.” George is giving Lennie an order about another order he gave him. George finds the puppy, takes it away from Lennie and tells him to take it back to the barn “You get right up an’ take this pup back” he gives Lennie all these imperatives in this extract.

    c) In this extract George’s action is the most authoritative, he gives Lennie many orders. In this extract Lennie knows he has done wrong, he also knows that George will make him take the puppy back. When he gets to the room he goes straight to his bed and faces away from George, this is showing his fear on what George will do. You can see that George is authoritative even when he puts his cards down “George put his cards down very deliberately” Steinbeck has also shown how George has authority, ” George went quickly to him, grabbed him by the shoulder and rolled him over.” Just by this he is showing that he has control over Lennie and he has the right to tell him what to do. It then goes further in detail and says “He reached down and picked the tiny puppy from where Lennie had been concealing it against his stomach.” He doesn’t even give Lennie a chance to explain and he takes the puppy away because he believes that it is the right thing to do.

    1. dartmouthacademyeng Post author

      A thoughtful and lengthy answer Cassie. But Lennie also uses some commands in here. AND what about his disobedience? George might be the boss but can he control Lennie? How does his character and behaviour here help us second-guess how the story will turn out – a great storyteller will give us enough clues for us to know what’s going to happen, even though we hope it won’t. In tragedy, our hopes are dashed, whereas in a classical comedy, our hopes win out against the odds! Chapter 2 questions are on the other page (in the menu bar). 4 for this answer. You still need to focus more on how the story (and characters) is (are) constructed.

      Sent from my iPad


  2. Joel Atwell

    aiming for a c’
    A) George is the one who starts the conversation because Lennie comes in and George approaches him with a ‘hi Lennie, how you like pup now?’. George asks this in a sarcastically way not knowing that Lennie had actually stole the white and brown ‘pup’. Lennie then gets nervous because he thinks george might be on to him, and when george finds out he has the pup Lennie didn’t realise he was in the wrong, he simply just wanted to pet it. George in this extract is again shown the be the one with the knowledge and understanding.
    B) One order that George gives is “I tol’ you you couldn’t bring that pup in here.” He then after this finds the puppy under Lennie’s jumper and orders him to take it back “You get right up an’ take this pup back to the nest”.

    1. dartmouthacademyeng Post author

      This is not such a strong response, Joel, as it turns into storytelling – you describe the action/what happens rather than focusing on the author’s use of language – avoid this. Part (a) would be a better answer without the middle bit. The last line of part (a) is good and should be what you are explaining in the answer. Does George show he cares about the way Lennie feels? How does this further your understanding of their relationship? In part (b) I like the way George gives very firm directions which breaks down into component parts what Lennie has to do (1) stand up (2) walk back to the barn – he is very specific because he needs to be to make Lennie do exactly as he says. How does this confrontation and Lennie’s hiding of the pup make you feel about whether Lennie will follow George’s instructions not to go near Curley or Curley’s wife? ________________________________________

  3. Rhiannon

    a) The fact that Lennie states: ‘Give ‘um to me, George’ shows that he is not to be completely controlled by George. The use of the command shows that Steinbeck has given Lennie some indignant qualities: he can stand up to George when he is passionate about something. In this case, he wants to pet the puppies and George has taken them away, which upsets Lennie and so he stands up to George and demands for them back. This shows that Lennie has the ability to fight back, even to George who’s been there for him all along, which Steinbeck uses to show the reader that there is a defensive side to the character of Lennie that often goes unnoticed. Steinbeck uses dramatic irony to show that the readers can pick up Lennie’s defiance, whereas the characters are more oblivious to this ‘newer’ side of Lennie, who is more of a side character and remains in George’s shadow.

    b) Lennie uses the epithet, ‘George’ as though to receive approval from him. Lennie is constantly questioning George, and by using his name, Steinbeck shows that Lennie is acting like a child because he is searching for approval from the men around him. by repeatedly using George’s name, Lennie is shown to be clearly addressing him, which shows that he is only willing to talk to him, because he knows George better than anyone else, and is shown to be ‘hiding’ behind George because he knows that the consequences of his actions will be less severe if George handles it. Also, by using the epithet, Steinbeck shows that Lennie is disobeying George, and uses it to show that Lennie is acting odd, which shows to the reader that something is not right.

    c) Slim’s presence is important to the scene because he is thought of as a silent witness. He is able to understand the relationship between Lennie and George, and to see George’s authority for himself. It’s as though he’s seen a different side to the two, as though he finally understands why George is seen to be in control, but has also seen the side to Lennie which George cannot control, which changes his perspective on the way they interact with each other. The substantiating question: “He’s jus’ like a kid, ain’t he?” isn’t necessarily directed at George, but more to just reflect on the scene upon which he had just witnessed. The use of the word substantiating is to do with prominent evidence, and so Slim happens to be reflecting upon the evidence of their controlled relationship and comments his thoughts aloud.

    1. dartmouthacademyeng Post author

      Crikey! A really sophisticated response that, should you write like this in the exam, could see you to an A*. Well done – you must have worked hard at wording such an intelligent response so well. I think the word, ‘substantiating’ refers to the little rejoinder, ‘ain’t he?’ – which does show he is directing the comment at least partly at George. The ‘ain’t he?’ is inclusive – it asks for but assumes agreement – he is making a statement about Lennie to George – George already knows he is ‘jus’ like a kid’ so he doesn’t need to be told, but Slim is voicing his thoughts out loud to explore the idea further in conversation with his friend. It softens the statement, ‘he’s jus’ like a kid’ which could be quite critical without the ‘ain’t he?’ The addition of ‘ain’t he?’ shows he’s not ridiculing or mocking Lennie, but sympathising with George’s situation and even condoning the way George just dealt with him. It confirms the bond between George and Slim. Keep up the good work – an also have a look at the Unit 1 page in preparation for next week! ________________________________________

  4. Jake Robinson

    George is the one who starts the discussion in the extract. When Lennie walks in he says “hi Lennie, how you like the pup now?” I think that George would have known ‘how Lennie likes the pups’ because he never stops talking about stroking fluffy animals and how much he likes them. If this is the case then it shows that George is trying to make an effort to start a conversation with Lennie because that is something that he would find it easy to talk about.
    In the extract I think there are only two imperatives that George uses. One of these is “I tol’ you you couldn’t bring that pup in here.” And the other is “You get right up an’ take this pup back to the nest.” George isn’t very relaxed about the way Lennie acts with the puppies, this is shown because he doesn’t really take Lennie’s emotions into consideration when he’s telling him off and I think that it is because he is worried about Lennie getting them into trouble again by accident.
    I think that the action in the extract that shows the most authority is George’s where it says he ‘put his cards down very deliberately. This almost makes his action sound forceful and him trying to show Lennie that he knows he is in the wrong. Before, it describes how Lennie has laid himself down with the pup and Steinbeck then does not give too much away to suggest that George has realised Lennie has the pup because he has not said anything, but the reader can see that George is disappointed with him.

    1. dartmouthacademyeng Post author

      I like part c of this best, Jake, as you spot the force of the adverb ‘deliberately’. Avoid using ‘I’ in these answers – be more forceful yourself – and focus on the language, so that rather than write,’ I think there are two imperatives’, start with ‘the two imperatives.. show that George…’ (‘I tol’ you…’ isn’t actually an imperative – it’s a reminder). Keep working through these Jake. Well done for getting on with them – I’m impressed with your attitude. ________________________________________

  5. Josie

    Aiming for a b
    A) adverbs such as “sharply” is used in the extract. This is shown in the line ” he said sharply. The adverb gives the reader an insight on how they two characters are speaking to each other. The adverb sharply portrays that George is dominant in the friendship and that he is distracted with Lennie bringing the puppy In whereas adverbs such as “pleadingly” portrays that Lennie is the more clamber one in the conversation. This is shown in the line “Lennie held his hands out pleadingly” this implies that he is upset at the fact that George has taken the puppy off of him.
    B) in the extract George is stood over the bunk beds, whilst Lennie is laid against the wall on the bottom bunk; this implies hat George is more of a forceful, parent-like, dominant character because of the fact that he is stood on a higher level than Lennie is; it’s is as if he is towering over Lennie which indicates to the reader that this intimidates Lennie. Whereas Lennie lying portrays that he is child-like, shy, non- aggressive character as he is acting out by turning his back towards George; this implies to the reader that Lennie, listens to what George saids but with a firm sense in his voice.
    C) by George explaining his reason gin to Lennie, it portrays to the reader that Georgie is trying to be nicer than what he usually is. This is shown in the line “he’s got asleep with his mother, you want to kill that pup?”. Although the reader can sense aggression in the way George saids it, it also portrays that George is trying to make Lennie understand that brining the puppy in was a bad decision, so because Lennie is quite child-like, reasoning is a good way to make him understand the difference between right and wrong.

    1. dartmouthacademyeng Post author

      I REALLY like your answer to part C as it shows you are thinking about the subtleties in the portrayal. this shows good understanding – are the questions making you think about or see the extracts any differently? Are the questions helping? ________________________________________

  6. Aimee Felton

    Aiming for a B
    A) in the extract we can see many adverbs used to show how the characters are talking to eachother and shows body language. By Steinbeck writing that George has put his cards down ‘deliberately’ suggests that George is putting them down forcefully showing he could be annoyed or irritated. Shortly after George says ‘Lennie’ ‘sharply’ showing he could be snapping at Lennie for having the pup when he shouldn’t in addition by Steinbeck saying George is doing something deliberately and sharply shows the body language made by George, ‘deliberately’ shows he could be angered and by George saying it ‘sharply’ shows he leads the friendship and is more In control than Lennie as we know he is childlike and can’t be dependant,

    B)George is stood over the bunk beds while Lennie is laid on the bottom bunk against the wall. This shows that George is the role model of their relationship and is shown to be higher than Lennie as we already know that Lennie is less capable than George, this is implied in the extract. The extract shows that George is basically stood over Lennie showing he is higher up in the friendship and is more controlling of Lennie, this also shows that George is almost like a father figure and can tell Lennie what to do and tells him what is right from wrong.

    C) George explaining his reasoning to Lennie shows that he knows Lennie well enough to make him feel bad and eventually take back the puppy, by George using the rhetorical question ‘you wanna hurt him?’ Makes Lennie realise the puppy needs to go back to his mother else he won’t live, this shows that Lennie wants the pup a lot as George knows, so it would make him take back the puppy. It shows that Lennie is childlike for bringing the pup because before George explained Lennie didn’t know that the puppy needs it’s more to live, this shows the effect of George explaining because it made Lennie understand more. It also implies that George is higher up in the friendship as he is using imperatives in which Lennie does. The effect of George explaining is showing to Lennie he needs to do the best for the pup else he can’t have it implying that Lennie wants the puppy badly so he will take it back.

    1. dartmouthacademyeng Post author

      Good answer, Aimee. Does he move ‘deliberately’ to signal to Lennie that he is angry with him and is giving Lennie a chance to ‘fess up before he confronts him? Don’t forget the questions to chapter 2 are on the other page – look at the tabs at the top of the webpage. ________________________________________

  7. Jake Billings

    A) George starts the conversation in the extract by saying “Hi Lenny, How you like the pup now?”, which implies that George and Lenny are close as there is no hesitation when George starts the conversation. The language is very casual when George starts the conversation which suggests that there is a very close relationship between these two characters.
    B) George uses various imperatives towards Lenny which implies that he has control over Lenny. “I tol’ you, you couldn’t bring that pup in here” is one of these imperatives which shows George’s control over Lenny. Another imperative that George uses is “You get right up an’ take this pup back. You take him back” shows how serious George is being and that his imperatives may be quite intimidating towards Lenny. Finally; “You get him back there quick, don’t you take him out no more.” , suggests that George is quite scared as he knows what Lenny is capable of.
    C) George has the more authority out of the pair. This shows that Lenny needs clear instructions and they share a close relationship because George understands this. “You get him back there quick” denotes that George has to clearly explain to Lenny what to do which shows their close relationship.

    1. dartmouthacademyeng Post author

      This is fine, Jake. You are explaining yourself quickly and succinctly. You are focused on language. How long do these answers take you? could you mention how these moments affect our understanding of these characters at this point in the book? ________________________________________

  8. Josh

    Aiming for a c
    1) the relationship between George and Lennie is shown through the fact that George starts the conversation between the two. George starts the conversation with “hi, Lennie,” as if he was speaking to a child. The writer uses this to his advantage because it make you feel pity for Lennie as he cannot look after himself without getting into trouble.

    2) George uses a lot of imperatives when he is talking to Lennie as Lennie is like a child, this means that Lennie needs to be told what to do rather than letting him figure it out for himself. He also may not like the commands that he is given by George and will lie to him to try to get out of it. For example when George is telling Lennie to give the pup to him, Lennie just lies about the pup and acts like he ” ain’t got no pup.”

    3) George is the most authoritative person In The extract as he has to act like a parent figure to Lennie. This means he has to assert his dominance towards Lennie to show that he is above him and to show that Lennie should listen to him. He gives commands Lennie that he then has to follow or else he either gets shouted at or it causes the death of the animal/person that he likes.

    1. dartmouthacademyeng Post author

      Quite thoughtful answers to (a) and (b) Josh, but could you make your answer to part (c) any more sophisticated, looking at how the reader responds to and feels about their relationship? ________________________________________

  9. James

    1. The writer continues the idea of George being the more dominant one since he starts the conversation in the line “Hi Lennie” . The relationship between them is still very parent-child with Lennie being the child which in turn makes the reader pity him more when bad things happen to him.
    2. The orders George gives like ” You get right up an` take that pup back to the nest .” to Lennie to further solidify his dominant position in their relationship. George giving the orders like that makes him seem like the parent in their relationship which makes the reader sympathies with him if anything happens to Lennie.
    3.George is the more authoritative in the relationship which shows that is a stable and established one since Lennie can`t disobey him for long. This makes the reader see this relationship as a more genuine one and one that they can support throughout the book and possibly even relate to.

    1. dartmouthacademyeng Post author

      Not a bad understanding of the passage, James. How does the reader respond to George? For part (c) you need to prove it through quoting the description of actions – both Lennie and George’s – you need to compare the way they are written. ________________________________________

  10. Jess Branton

    Aiming for a C:

    a) In this extract, it is George who starts the discussion even though Steinbeck mention Lennie first in this extract. “Hi Lennie,” George says approaching Lennie. George then leads on to sarcasm which Lennie doesn’t quite understand. “How you like the pup now” Lennie doesn’t realise and just carries on as usual.
    b) George uses simple but serious orders in order to keep Lennie safe. “You get right up an’ take this pup back to the nest.” The reason for this is because Lennie is mentally disabled and needs to follow simple instructions in order to understand what is happening.

    1. dartmouthacademyeng Post author

      Why do you think George is being sarcastic? I don’t think he is – he wants to know how his friend enjoyed being with the pup. The question is asking about the relationship between the two – you need to think about how the writer is constructing a whole storyline, of which this is only a small part – why is it included? How does it help us understand their relationship – why’s it included in the story? Yes, he wants to keep him safe, but how does this episode make the audience FEEL and what does it make the reader question? You are forgetting that the whole thing is written to have an effect on a reader – what is it? ________________________________________

  11. Lucy Stone

    Aiming for an A:
    a) In this case, the fact that Lennie says ‘Give ‘um to me, George’ displays Lennie’s defiance against being controlled by George. George’s authority over Lennie is a recurring theme throughout the novel (Of Mice and Men), and Lennie’s demand shows that Steinbeck has, in this case, given Lennie some churlish traits in contradiction to the fact that Lennie has the mind set of a child. In this instance, Lennie obviously feels passionate about the puppy that George has taken away from him, and feels as if he can make a stand against George’s authority. This is evidence that Lennie does in fact possess the audacity to challenge George’s hold on him, giving reason to infer that there is a defiant streak in Lennie despite all other portrayals of Lennis’s attitude throughout the book. Furthermore, the author has used the technique of dramatic irony in order to display to the readers Lennie’s defiance.
    b) In this, Lennie has used the name ‘George’ in a way to receive his consent, thus providing evidence of the authority George has over Lennie once again. Lennie is inquisitive towards George’s actions, intent on learning from him as one would a father or an older brother. Lennie often uses the name ‘George’ showing that he seeks approval for his actions (from George and other men in his work environment) as if wishing to learn the right and wrong way to do things. Lennie often uses George and the notion of his authority as a shield against disapproval and challenge from other men, due to his child like demeanour, as he understands that George’s reaction will be more understanding as opposed to the chastising he would receive from others. In addition, the author has used Lennie’s use of the namesake as evidence that Lennie may be acting out of character, so to speak, leading the reader to inference that something is off within the mechanics of the two characters, coinciding with the novel’s plot.
    c) The company of the shady character Slim is important in this particular scene, as Slim is known for being the one to stand back and watch. This man seems to understand the functioning of the relationship that the two protagonists have with each other, and sees the way that Lennie is more of an apprentice to George in the sense that Lennie almost never leaves George’s side, like an inquisitive child. The fact that Lennie, as I mentioned in the previous question, has stood up to George could insight a change in Slims perspective on Lennie, thus affecting the relationship between them.
    Slim, in this extract, takes note of Lennie’s behaviour, saying ‘He’s jus’ like a kid, ain’t he?’ thus reflecting on the way that Lennie follows George almost religiously, as I have mentioned before, much like a child. Usually a silent character, Slim voices his opinion aloud which could affect the long term relationships of the characters later on in the novel.

    1. dartmouthacademyeng Post author

      I really like your perceptive, thoughtful answers, Lucy. Slim is not ‘the real slim shady’ you know! I think his role is one of respect, solidity and a companion to George. Will you be able to get an answer of this depth down in ten minutes? (the three parts of the question represent a paragraph each) – try to be sophisticated but concise.

  12. Savannah

    a) The use of the command, “Give ‘um to me, George”, creates the ideas that while George is the more authorative one of the two, Lennie is not controlled by him if he really wants something, in this case, the puppy. This shows that Lennie can display defiance if he is passionate about something, and he is able to rebel against George’s orders. Even after George tells him “You get right up an’ take this pup back to the nest”, displaying his authority over Lennie, Lennie still persists to argue his case. His persistance shows the reader that Lennie isnt always as obedient as expected, and perhaps develops Lennie’s character to show he is more intelligent than is first thought, with him managing to convince George to give the puppy back so that he can return it.

    b) Lennie uses the epithet “George” very frequently, with “Give ‘um to me, George”, “ I didn’t mean no harm, George” and, “What pup, George?”. This conveys to the reader that Lennie is making sure only George will respond to him, not only because he wants the puppy back and to get George to listen to him, but because he may feel the other men will not take him seriously, and perhaps he only feels comfortable talking to George. In addition, Lennie may be saying this to try and emphasize the fact that he is looking up to him, almost like he is requesting a response or approval, to try and make sure his actions are correct from George’s perspective.

    c) Slim’s presence is important in this part, because of his comment, “He’s jus’ like a kid, ain’t he?”. The phrase “He’s jus’ like a kid”, while accurate, could be taken as an insult towards Lennie, and as Slim has observed that George is baisically a parent to Lennie and is responsible for him, he uses “ain’t he?” to make the remark more sympathetic, almost like he is letting George know he is sorry that he is responsible for Lennie. His presence adds to George’s relationships; by showing he is kind towards George, we see a new friendship develop, where the two are more equal, unlike with George and Lennie, with Lennie looking up to him.


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