Chapters Five to Six

Chapter Five, which takes place on the Sunday afternoon, starts with Lennie in the barn, petting his dead puppy. He has accidentally killed the dog through stroking it too hard and is worried that George will find out and stop him from looking after the rabbits when they get their farm, so he tries to hide it under some straw.

Curley’s wife enters and tries to talk to Lennie. At first, he tries to ignore her because he knows that George doesn’t want him to speak to her. However, she notices his puppy and comforts him so he starts talking to her. She opens up to him about her dislike of her husband and her aspirations of becoming a movie star.

Lennie speaks to her about the farm he and George will have and the rabbits he will look after. He tells her that he likes to pet soft things. She says that she understands and offers him her hair to stroke, which he does. However, he strokes her hair too hard, making her panic and shout. Worried that he will get into trouble, Lennie covers her mouth with his hand and shakes her. He breaks her neck then leaves, aware that he has done something wrong.

Candy goes into the barn and finds Curley’s wife’s body. He runs to get George and the two discuss what has happened and predict that Curley will want to kill Lennie. Candy asks about the dream of buying a farm and the two realise that this is now never going to happen. George is worried that Curley will suspect that he was involved in his wife’s death and asks Candy to pretend he hasn’t seen him before he leaves the barn.

Alone with Curley’s wife’s body, Candy lets out his frustration and anger, blaming her for the destruction of their dream. He cries before going to find the rest of the men to tell them about her death. The men enter and Curley demands that Lennie be found and killed. Carlson says that his gun is missing and they suspect that Lennie has taken it. George tells the men to go in a different direction to where he knows Lennie will be.

In Chapter Six, Lennie is hiding in the bushes next to the clearing he and George stayed in at the start of the book. He hallucinates, seeing his Aunt Clara and a giant rabbit. George finds Lennie and speaks to him, telling him that he is not angry and trying to calm him down. Lennie asks George to describe the dream of the farm and he does so. As he does this, George asks Lennie to take off his hat and look out at the river. George then uses Carlson’s gun to shoot Lennie in the back of the head.

George stands with a gun in his hand and stares at Lennie lying on the ground face down, whom he has just shot.

The rest of the men find George after hearing the shot. George claims that Lennie had Carlson’s gun and he had to shoot him after managing to take the gun away from him. Slim walks away with George, telling him: You hadda, George. I swear you hadda. Carlson and Curley watch them leave, wondering, what the hell ya suppose is eatin' them two guys?

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