Of Mice and Men Chapter 3 Summary

     In this chapter Lennie gets a puppy from Slim and spends every free second he has in the barn with it. He tries to sneak it into the bunk house under his jacket one time, but George forces him to return it to its mother in the barn. Slim and George talk about Lennie, and George confesses some things to him. George says he takes care of Lennie because he grew up with him and knew his Aunt Clara, so when she died, let Lennie come along with him. George used to play tricks on Lennie when he was younger, but once when he told him to jump into the river, and Lennie did, he nearly drowned. George had to help him out because Lennie couldn't swim. He realized he could have killed Lennie and stopped messing around with him after that. George also tells Slim about what happened in Weed with Lennie touching the woman's dress. Even though the woman claimed she had been raped, Lennie never hurt her. Slim agreed that Lennie isn't mean, he just isn't bright.

     Candy joins them in the bunkhouse followed by his old dog, and Carlson starts bothering him again about shooting the dog. Carlson explains that the dog is suffering, and it's best to put it out of its misery. He even offers to shoot the dog for Candy. Candy doesn't want his dog to die, but he finally agrees to let Carlson take him. Carlson brings his Luger gun and a shovel with him as he escorts the dog outside. Candy lies rigidly in his bed until the men hear the sound of the gunshot signaling the dog was dead.

     Crooks, the stable buck, peeks in soon after to call Slim away, so George is left talking to Whit, another ranch hand, who tells George about Susy's place where the men sometimes go for male entertainment. Carlson returns and cleans his gun. Then Lennie comes back and announces that Slim and Curley were discussing his wife in the barn, so Whit and Carlson think there might be a fight, so they leave.

     Lennie asks George to once again describe the little farm that he knows about that they someday hope to own. George says it's ten acres with pigs and a nice stove. There are all kinds of vegetables and cows and chickens. George explains where they could build rabbit hutches and how Lennie would feed alfalfa to the rabbits when suddenly Candy sits up and asks how much a place like that would cost. George and Lennie had forgotten that Candy was in the room, but the question seems harmless, so George tells Candy that he could get it for six hundred dollars.

     Candy then explains how he lost his hand on this ranch a long time ago, so they gave him two hundred and fifty dollars and how he saved up fifty more since then plus he has fifty more coming to him at the end of the month. He offers to help George and Lennie buy the place. Candy has no relatives and doesn't expect to live a great deal longer, so he would will his share of the property back to Lennie and George. George is astonished by this news as he and Lennie have never been able to save up a significant amount of money. He decides to take Candy up on the offer. He says he thinks he can convince the old people who own the property to sell it to him for four hundred and fifty dollars, which if Lennie and George each put in their fifty dollars, they could have saved by the end of the month. The three of them are elated at the prospect of leaving this ranch and owning a place of their own. George makes them both promise not to tell anyone their plan, so that no one can ruin it or try to get them fired.

     As Lennie is still smiling at this dream possibly coming true, Curley comes in and asks Lennie what he is laughing at. Lennie doesn't know how to respond, so Curley punches him in the face. Again, Lennie is too stunned to react, so Curley continues to beat on him. Lennie is a bloody mess by the time George tells Lennie to fight back. At that point Lennie simply grabs Curley's swinging fist and smashes every bone in his hand. Finally, George gets Lennie to release Curley, and the men all agree that Curley needs to see a doctor. First, George has Slim convince Curley not to tell anyone what Lennie did but instead to say he got his hand caught in a machine. After the men leave, Lennie cries to George about how he didn't want to hurt Curley and asks if he can still tend the rabbits, and George assures him that he can.

     This chapter shows a huge step forward in George and Lennie's quest to purchase their own property. Candy regrets his decision to allow Carlson to shoot his dog, thinking he should have done it himself, but is pleased to help Lennie and George buy a farm. The friendship between the two men has grown to include Candy who never really had a friend besides his dog and has found something worthy to spend the money on that he received as compensation for losing his hand.

Related Links:

Of Mice and Men Chapter 3 Quiz
Of Mice and Men Chapter 4 Summary
Of Mice and Men Chapter 5 Summary
Of Mice and Men Summary
Of Mice and Men Quotes
Of Mice and Men Important Characters
Of Mice and Men Quiz
Literature Summaries

To link to this Of Mice and Men Chapter 3 Summary page, copy the following code to your site: