Socratic Fishbowl

Today, we had a Socratic Fishbowl discussion on Chapters 3 and 4 in Of Mice and Men. MLIA.

Lennie was an animal who wouldn’t attack unless cornered. He doesn’t know the extent of his own strength.
Curly’s dream was to be the manliest man there ever was. The problem was that he was little, and his . . . “Vaseline hand”. This is definitely a hindrance to his dream. He went after Lennie because he couldn’t go after Slim (Slim is more important to the ranch). The event was precipitated by Curly’s tart wife, who Curly thought was sleeping around. Curly wants attention, from his dad, wife, and just the general population.
The Boss was not exactly nice, but he wasn’t mean. He gave the workers all they needed but felt no real emotion toward them (he gave them what they wanted as incentive to continue working).
Curly’s wife has a lot of power over him.

Candy wants power. He owned land; we know this because he has a sheepdog. He’s lost his dream already.

Carlson doesn’t want to be annoyed. He complained a lot. He wants instant gratification and said nothing positive. He has a gun while nobody else does. We can assume he is a German veteran of World War I, or he was just in the war and took the gun off of a dead soldier. Not many people like him, but they tolerate him.

Lennie and George are creating an “Island of Misfit Toys”. They’re collecting a band of social outcasts who all want to achieve their ultimate dream.

Then, a bunch of Honors kids moved all their desks around instead of just switching desks with someone who was already in the circle.

Crooks is the most tragic figure in the book. He knows he doesn’t have any rights because he’s black. He wants to feel wanted, which was bad because George doesn’t really want anyone. He takes advantage of how much Lennie needs George. He’s naturally manipulative because he wants to make himself feel better. He’s got “beaten dog” syndrome (a dog has been beaten so much that when a human approaches it, it lashes out). He abuses power when he gets it because he feels worthless.

Somehow, the discussion moved to Japanese swords.

Curly’s wife has power over him. She threatens Crooks, showing that she, like Curly, abuses power. Crooks and Curly’s wife are similar in that they crave attention. Although she could get all the attention she wants from her husband, she isn’t satisfied. Stuck suggested that maybe she doesn’t want THAT kind of attention. She wants someone who needs her. Or she just loves misery. She sets up situations for Curly to be the manly tough guy. He uses her sort of as a trophy of superiority over the other guys. They are a tail-chasing dog. She just wants to stand out.

George is annoying. Although he knows that something is going to happen with Lennie, he continues forward anyway. He doesn’t do anything to stop harm from befalling the both of them.


One Response to “Socratic Fishbowl”

  1. I always assumed that Carlson was an American soldier in WW1, which is why he has the German gun and knows how to shoot people painlessly. It’s also why he’s so cold – he’s killed people before, in cold blood at that – he executed an officer and took his gun as a trophy. Being in WW1 dates him, so he’s one of the oldest on the ranch – second only to Candy, and maybe the Boss. This is why he wants Candy’s dog dead – it reminds him of his quickly approaching old age. I don’t know why the theory is so unpopular.

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