American Literature- 2nd
25 March 2013
Of Mice and Men
“Dammit Lennie!” is something I always imagine George saying every two chapters of this story. George and Lennie were both inspired by real people that Steinbeck met when he was a bindlestiff in the 1920’s. The man who inspired Lennie was a mentally unstable who was very nice but also had major anger problems. Steinbeck used a character like this that can be easily controlled so he could use indirect characterization of George and Lennie as alpha male and subordinate to express the theme of friendship.
Towards the beginning of the book, Steinbeck immediately establishes George and Lennie roles and friendship. “They had walked in single file down the path, and even in the open one stayed behind the other. Both were dressed in denim trousers and in denim coats with brass buttons. Both wore black, shapeless hats and both carried tight blanket rolls slung over their shoulders” (Steinbeck 2). Steinbeck shows how Lennie looks up to George so much that he decides to dress in similar clothes and walks right behind him which can be indirect characterization of Lennie’s position of subordinate. The author of A Student’s Guide to John Steinbeck also states that: “George is Lennie’s protector, a fatherly figure looking after his grown child. Like a father, he scolds Lennie for misbehaving, and like a son, Lennie lives to please George” (Gerald Newman and Eleanor Newman Layfield 36). It is reiterated here that George is the leader and Lennie is the follower similar to a father-son relationship.
Later on in the story, George tells how he and Lennie are different from other farm workers. “’Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place. They come to a ranch an’ work up a stake and then they go inta town and blow their stake, and the first thing you know they’re poundin’ their tail on some other ranch. They ain’t got...