Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Chapter 3 Analysis (pages 38-65)

Slim’s giving Lennie a pet puppy shows Slim’s caring nature, yet since it’s already been illustrated that Lennie has a history of killing his pet mice, the likelihood that Lennie’s dog will meet a similar fate is high. The fact that Lennie’s history of violence has also been towards humans, as was the case in Weed, also provides suggests that Lennie may act out in a violent way at this ranch, too.

When Carlson shoots Candy’s dog to put it out of its misery, Candy likely feels that he will share the dog’s fate, since his missing limb and old age limit his usefulness around the ranch. This significant scene reveals that Carlson stores a gun under his bunk and that the general belief around the ranch is that if something cannot fend for itself, it should be put out of its misery. Both details will be important later in the novel. Candy’s regret over not shooting his dog himself also foreshadows that another individual will have to make a difficult choice between committing a similar act of mercy himself, or leaving it in the hands of others.

In this chapter, the theme of owning their own ranch seems to be attainable to George and Lennie if Candy contributes the stash of money he’s saved over the years.

Curley’s violence becomes apparent in the final scene, and one can only speculate that perhaps he demonstrates the violence at home towards his wife, furthering the reader’s sympathy for Curley’s wife. The complexity of George’s character emerges in this chapter when he orders Lennie to fight Curley, much like a master might order his dog to attack an intruder. Although George displays a sense of justice in this scene, wanting to give Curley a taste of his own medicine, he also reveals an unsettling ability to manipulate Lennie for his own wishes.