Foreshadowing; George tells Lennie where to hide if there is any trouble in the next town.
Of Mice and Men
Chapter One Setting
The novel begins near the Salinas River, south of Soledad in the California valley. The GalibanMountains rise up on one side and drop to valleys on the other. The river and its banks are alive with animals and plants. A path leads to the banks of the river, and the two main characters, George Milton and Lennie Small, follow this path to the river. While George is small with sharp features, Lennie is a big man with rounded features. He drags his feet when he walks, following George step for step. They are on their way to a job at a nearby ranch, and their ride has left them several miles away. It is hot and they are tired from the walk.
Chapter 1 Irony
George resents Lennie. He is angry because of the situations that Lennie often puts them in. He and Lennie are friends, but George has grown tired of always having to fix the mess that Lennie has made.
Still as angry and burdened as he feels, George still protects Lennie to the very end by killing him as opposed to letting the mob get to him.
Chapter 1 Conflict
The conflict in chapter one comes down to the question of how george will ever be able to succeed while Lenny is with him.
Chapter 1 Plot
Two men, dressed in denim jackets and trousers and wearing "black, shapeless hats," walk single-file down a path near the pool. Both men carry blanket rolls — called bindles — on their shoulders. The smaller, wiry man is George Milton. Behind him is Lennie Small, a huge man with large eyes and sloping shoulders, walking at a gait that makes him resemble a huge bear.
When Lennie drops near the pool's edge and begins to drink like a hungry animal, George cautions him that the water may not be good. This advice is necessary because Lennie is retarded and doesn't realize the possible dangers. The two are on their way to a ranch where they can get temporary work, and George warns Lennie not to say anything when they arrive. Because Lennie forgets things very quickly, George must make him repeat even the simplest instructions.
Lennie also likes to pet soft things. In his pocket, he has a dead mouse which George confiscates and throws into the weeds beyond the pond. Lennie retrieves the dead mouse, and George once again catches him and gives Lennie a lecture about the trouble he causes when he wants to pet soft things (they were run out of the last town because Lennie touched a girl's soft dress, and she screamed). Lennie offers to leave and go live in a cave, causing George to soften his complaint and tell Lennie perhaps they can get him a puppy that can withstand Lennie's petting.
As they get ready to eat and sleep for the night, Lennie asks George to repeat their dream of having their own ranch where Lennie will be able to tend rabbits. George does so and then warns Lennie that, if anything bad happens, Lennie is to come back to this spot and hide in the brush. Before George falls asleep, Lennie tells him they must have many rabbits of various colors.