Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men deals with the plight of migrant labourers in California during the Great Depression, with the focus on two random migrant workers, George and Lennie. The first chapter sharply establishes the relationship between the two primary characters. George is a realist who must care for the simple child-like Lennie. George consistently reprimands and gets angry with Lennie for his actions, while Lennie strives to please George. We see this in the scene by the pool where Lennie imitates and copies George's every move. Their relationship can be immediately compared to a father-son relationship.
The arguments between the two characters reveal a great deal about each of them. George is careful and controlled; he formulates a plan for every situation and acts to prevent any bad occurrences. His careful planning comes from past experience; Steinbeck implies that Lennie has placed George into so many precarious situations that he must now consider every possible tragedy that might occur.
"Well, look Lennie - if you jus' happen to get in trouble like you always done before, I want you to come right here an' hide in the brush"
Although George and Lennie are similar in age, George acts as a parental figure. He guides Lennie through almost every situation, supplying the common sense that Lennie lacks. Yet in this parental role George is often frustrated. He quickly tires of Lennie's constant questions, having likely answered them many times before.
"So you forgot awready, did you? I gotta tell you again, do I? Jesus Christ..."
George has reached the point where diplomatic behaviour is useless and so becomes tactful when dealing with Lennie. Within George there is some regret. He realises that he has given up the life of an unattached man and its relative ease to care for Lennie, as well as the numerous opportunities he has lost because he cares for his friend.
"I could get along so easy and so nice if I didn't have you on my tail. I...
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