Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Chapter 6 Summary (pages 99-107)

Lennie appears from the brush near the Salinas River bank. Although George is not there, Lennie speaks to him; he is proud of himself for remembering their secret hiding spot. As he waits for George, he recalls his Aunt Clara, who speaks to him in his voice telling him that he doesn’t appreciate George and all the kind things he does for Lennie. Lennie considers leaving, since he knows George will never let him care for the rabbits now. Then Lennie imagines a rabbit, who also speaks to him in Lennie’s voice, berating him for disobeying George and envisioning the beating George will give Lennie.

As George approaches the brush, he hears Lennie talking to himself and announces his presence. Lennie begs George not to leave him and George promises that he won’t. Lennie expects that George will yell at him for killing Curley’s wife and offers to leave, but George calms Lennie by reminding him that the two of them are family, and none of the other guys have family to travel with and care for them. The mob’s shouting can be heard in the distance.

George asks Lennie to remove his hat and stare across the river while George repeats the story of the ranch they will one day own and the rabbits Lennie will one day tend. George reassures Lennie that he’s not mad at him, and as Lennie imagines their future ranch, George directs the barrel of Carlson’s gun at the back of his friend’s head and pulls the trigger. George tosses the gun into a pile of ashes seconds before Slim and the rest of the men arrive. When Carlson asks George if Lennie had the Luger, George replies that he did. George tells the mob he disarmed Lennie before shooting him. Slim suggests that George come along with him for a drink and they depart together. The novel ends with Carlson asking Curley, “Now what the hell ya suppose is eatin’ them two guys?”

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