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ANSWERS TEST 1
11. Lennie is always at the center of the action of the story. Even when he is not on the scene, he is being talked about by the other characters, for example, when George and Slim talk in Chapter 3. Nearly all of the characters interact with Lennie. Since we as readers feel so sympathetic toward Lennie throughout the book, we generally measure the other characters by their responses to Lennie. We respect George for his devotion to a partner who must often seem a burden to him. We hate Curley for his picking on Lennie. We almost feel that Curley's wife got what she deserved for trying to seduce Lennie. Lennie brings out both the best and worst in the people he deals with.
Lennie is also the central figure in forming and maintaining the dream vision that is at the heart of the novel. Lennie pushes George into articulating the vision. It seems that George has to keep being reminded so that he won't lose sight of this better future. Maybe this is because George could live a normal ranch life, but Lennie couldn't. If George and Lennie are to stay together, they must find a new life on their own, away from other people. Perhaps the clearest indication of Lennie's importance to the novel is that without Lennie, the dream vision withers and dies.
12. The origin of the title was explained earlier in the discussion of themes. According to the Robert Burns poem from which the title is taken, the best laid schemes of both mice and men often go astray. George and Lennie have a scheme of their own that promises joy. But, as in the poem, it will go astray and leave nothing but grief and pain behind. The images of mice and men are also central to the book. The characters who link themselves with the scheme-George, Lennie, Candy, Crooks-are mice who want to be men. They are nobodies who want to find importance and self-respect. For a while, in the third and fourth chapters, these mice are elevated to manhood. George has a real place in mind, Lennie knows the colors of his rabbits, Candy becomes a businessman counting his profits; and Crooks no longer feels like a cripple. But in the end micehood prevails. George will live the lonely life of a ranch hand, Lennie is dead; Candy is left behind when the posse goes out after Lennie; and Crooks feels the need for his liniment.