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George and Lennie's Relationship in of Mice and Men

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George and Lennie's Relationship in of Mice and Men

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Of Mice and Men is a novella centred on the disincentives of America during the depression in the 1930’s. The country known as ‘the land of opportunity,’ is dismissed as it became deprived and inept. Many men were itinerant workers that travelled from ranch to ranch looking for wages that would be sufficient till they moved on. These types of men were the loneliest, with no companionship. It is this transient migrant lifestyle which highlights the importance of the relationship between Lennie and George, a rarity among the other characters to be exact.

George and Lennie are an unusual package deal within the novel. From the beginning Steinbeck enforces the idea of a parent –child relationship. He distinctively sets the two apart as they ‘walked in single file’ and ‘one stayed behind the other.’ From first sight, a dynamic in their relationship is established. Although they are outwardly of the same class, George is still the one if front, revealing himself as the leader. As the story progresses we can acknowledge that George does not deem himself as superior to Lennie, it is simply his duty to control and guide Lennie who is mentally inept and regarded as a ‘crazy bastard’. We can decipher from this that Lennie is in no shape to take care of him and need George to help him.

Their relationship is not of a regular companionship, I regard it as a fraternal bond made over time. Lennie’s nature is almost childlike; Steinbeck describes the character in such a way so that the readers perceive him to be incapable and dependent upon George ‘Lennie, who had been watching imitated George exactly.’ Children often ‘imitate’ their guardians and some people may even believe this to be the way of development of a person. Lennie may need George to create stability for the future but Lennie’s mimicry isn’t to just fit in with the civilized world. Steinbeck implies from the innocent actions by Lennie, that he genuinely admires George.

Although it seems as though Lennie...

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