Of Mice and Men

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George and Lennie's Farm Symbol Analysis

George and Lennie's Farm Symbol Icon
The farm George and Lennie hope to own is a symbol of the American Dream. Like a mirage, the farm leads George, Lennie, and other ranchers like Candy and Crooks, to indulge in the dream of living "off the fatta the lan.'" George's elaborate description of the farm's abundant plants and animals also makes it seem like a symbol of paradise.

George and Lennie's Farm Quotes in Of Mice and Men

The Of Mice and Men quotes below all refer to the symbol of George and Lennie's Farm. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Broken Plans Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Books edition of Of Mice and Men published in 1993.
Part 1 Quotes
"Well," said George, "we'll have a big vegetable patch and a rabbit hutch and chickens. And when it rains in the winter, we'll just say the hell with goin' to work, and we'll build up a fire in the stove and set around it an' listen to the rain comin' down on the roof."
Related Characters: George Milton (speaker)
Related Symbols: George and Lennie's Farm, Rabbits
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:

When George repeats his refrain about why they, as two traveling friends, are different than other ranchers, Lennie asks George to tell him about the farm that they are going to have together. Lennie often asks George to repeat this story, as a sort of verbal security blanket that calms him when he is upset.

In this quote, George repeats yet another refrain about a piece of land that he and Lennie will own, with their own livestock and crops. As ranchers, they are constantly doing backbreaking labor to harvest the crops that someone else owns, for meager pay. If they were to own their own land, they could "live off tha fatta the lan'," as Lennie is fond of saying--they can be sustained entirely by the food they grow. They would effectively be their own bosses, and therefore "say the hell with goin' to work" whenever they please, rather than risk being fired by an employer. The repetition of this dream keeps both men going even when times are hard. The belief that their future will be better than their current situation is one that they must furtively believe if they are to continue to endure the repercussions of Lennie's antics on various ranches across California. 

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Part 3 Quotes
"We could live offa the fatta the lan'."
Related Characters: Lennie Small (speaker)
Related Symbols: George and Lennie's Farm
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:

Lennie asks George to repeat the story of their dream to own a farm together, and in this quote, Lennie chimes in with one of his favorite lines: "We could live offa the fatta the lan'." Rather than working from ranch to ranch to harvest other people's crops, the two men dream of having their own plot of land from which to sustain themselves and to sell harvest from. They both relish the idea of staying in one place, and working hard for something that they own and is theirs to eat or sell, rather than to turn over for a meager day's pay for backbreaking labor. Lennie and George only have each other, and they cannot get enough of the idea that they could one day have a piece of land to call home. 

Part 4 Quotes
I seen hundreds of men come by on the road an' on the ranches, with their bindles on their back an' that same damn thing in their heads . . . every damn one of 'em's got a little piece of land in his head. An' never a God damn one of 'em ever gets it. Just like heaven. Ever'body wants a little piece of lan'. I read plenty of books out here. Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land.
Related Characters: Crooks (speaker)
Related Symbols: George and Lennie's Farm
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:

Despite being warned by George to keep quiet, Lennie proudly tells Crooks of the plan to purchase a farm. Crooks, like Candy, is immediately enticed by the idea of a farm and a place to call home, where he might be treated better than he has been on the ranch. Years of isolation, however, have made him very cynical (for a good reason) and he is scornful of the idea. In this quote, he tells Lennie that though he sees many men come through the ranch with similar ideas, none of them ever follows through with it.

Crooks' statement helps explain why George wants Lennie to keep the land a secret--if another rancher with more money in the bank hears about it, they might poach it before he gets a chance to purchase it. It also shows how similar the lives and dreams of ranchers are--they all long for their own piece of land to call home, and to no longer live a nomadic existence, traveling from ranch to ranch searching for work. Yet, despite the similarities in their sentiments and dreams, there remains very little interpersonal connection. 

Part 5 Quotes
I think I knowed from the very first. I think I knowed we'd never do her. He usta like to hear about it so much I got to thinking maybe we would.
Related Characters: George Milton (speaker)
Related Symbols: George and Lennie's Farm
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:

When George realizes that Lennie has killed Curley's wife, he immediately knows that his dream of owning his own farm, too, has died. The farm was the collective dream of both George and Lennie, and it would never be the same without Lennie.

In this quote, George painfully recalls how much Lennie loved to daydream about having the farm. The story, he now knows, has become one of myth rather than of a future reality. Here, George attempts to convince himself that he had never really believed it would happen--that he had only started to believe it because Lennie made him recite the story so many times, since it delighted him to imagine their own farm (particularly, the rabbits). Like with his fake scorn of Lennie, to make his friend feel badly when he misbehaves, George tells himself it would have never really happened, so he feels less disappointed about no longer holding onto the dream of the farm. Even though he could still potentially buy the farm on his own with Candy, and even with Crooks, he knows he could never bring himself to do it without Lennie. Rather than bringing the peace and freedom he hoped it would, it would only carry with it memories of pain and sadness. 


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George and Lennie's Farm Symbol Timeline in Of Mice and Men

The timeline below shows where the symbol George and Lennie's Farm appears in Of Mice and Men. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
...Lennie's urging, George describes their future. They'll save money until they can buy their own farm. George describes the farm right down to its rabbit hutches. Lennie can't contain his excitement... (full context)
Part 3
The American Dream Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
George and Lennie stay behind, and soon begin talking about their farm. Having overheard George's description of the farm as a place where they can just "belong,"... (full context)
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
As the other men return, George warns Lennie and Candy to keep the farm a secret. Candy whispers back that he should have shot his dog himself. (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
...laughing at him, though Lennie was just smiling while thinking of tending rabbits on the farm. Curley starts punching Lennie, bloodying his face. Lennie only fights back when George tells him... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...Curley gives in. Lennie asks George if he can still tend the rabbits on their farm. George says yes. (full context)
Part 4
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
As they talk, Lennie forgets the farm is a secret and mentions it. Crooks thinks this just one of Lennie's fantasies. (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The conversation turns back to the farm. Crooks says all ranch hands dream about owning land, but nobody ever does, just like... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
Candy wanders in. When Crooks again says they'll never own a farm, Candy replies that they have a spot of land picked out and nearly all the... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
...tells her to leave. If she fires them, he says, they'll just buy their own farm. Curley's wife laughs at him. Crooks also demands she leave, but quiets when she curses... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
The other men return. When George discovers Lennie was talking about the farm, he gets angry. But Crooks says Curley's wife was right, and that he's no longer... (full context)
Part 5
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Lennie starts talking about the farm and rabbits, and explains that he likes to pet soft things. She says her hair... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
...realize that Curley will lynch Lennie. Candy then asks if the plan to buy the farm is now officially off. George says he never really thought it would happen, but Lennie... (full context)
Part 6
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Lennie then asks George to describe their farm. George does, and tells Lennie to take off his hat and to look out over... (full context)