Quotes from ‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck

Read the review for the book

Here are some notable extracts from the book. The book has a lot of good stuff, but out of context, it won’t make sense and spoil the experience. So, I’ve only put a select few passages here. I’m not adding comments under all the quotes as I’m really tired (I know you’re secretly happy about this :P).

“Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place. They come to a ranch an’ work up a stake and then they go inta town and blow their stake, and the first thing you know they’re poundin’ their tail on some other ranch. They ain’t got nothing to look ahead to.” Lennie was delighted. “That’s it – that’s it. Now tell how it is with us.”

“Well, Curley’s pretty handy,” the swamper said skeptically.  “Never did seem right to me. S’pose Curley jumps a big guy an’  licks him. Ever’body says what a game guy Curley is. And s’pose  he does the same thing and gets licked. Then ever’body says the  big guy oughtta pick somebody his own size, and maybe they gang  up on the big guy. Never did seem right to me. Seems like Curley  ain’t givin’ nobody a chance.”

Guy don't need no sense to be a nice  fella. Seems to me sometimes it jus' works the other way around.  Take a real smart guy and he ain't hardly ever a nice fella

Guy don’t need no sense to be a nice fella. Seems to me sometimes it jus’ works the other way around. Take a real smart guy and he ain’t hardly ever a nice fella

We’d  have a setter dog and a couple stripe cats, but you gotta watch out  them cats don’t get the little rabbits.”
Lennie breathed hard. “You jus’ let ’em try to get the rabbits. I’ll break their God damn necks. I’ll . . . . I’ll smash ’em with a stick.”  He subsided, grumbling to himself, threatening the future cats which might dare to disturb the future rabbits.

He said miserably, “You seen what they done to my dog tonight? They says he wasn’t no good to himself nor nobody else. When they can me  here I wisht somebody’d shoot me. But they won’t do nothing like  that. I won’t have no place to go, an’ I can’t get no more jobs.

I seen it over an’ over-a guy talkin’ to another guy and it don’t make no difference if he  don’t hear or understand. The thing is, they’re talkin’, or they’re  settin’ still not talkin’. It don’t make no difference, no difference.”

Just a little context here. This is what Crooks, the stable hand says to Lennie. What he means is that people just want someone to listen to them. It doesn’t matter if they understand them, just their presence is enough.

A guy sets alone out here at night, maybe  readin’ books or thinkin’ or stuff like that. Sometimes he gets  thinkin’, an’ he got nothing to tell him what’s so an’ what ain’t so. Maybe if he sees somethin’, he don’t know whether it’s right or  not. He can’t turn to some other guy and ast him if he sees it too.  He can’t tell. He got nothing to measure by.

Crooks again. Describing loneliness.

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2 comments

  1. May I please know when the novel was written.. I had tough time understanding the language used.. :)

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    1. It was written some time in the 1930s. The language is heavily accented mid-western American English (I think).

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