Of Mice and Men: Lennie and George

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In the novel of mice and men John Steinbeck uses the two protagonists Lennie small and George Milton to show morals through-out the novella. Steinbeck uses the main characters to portrait the American dream. I realize Steinbeck vaguely gets us to explore each character feeling by feeling, but in the time of age they’re living in we get a clearer understanding of why they are the way they are. In this essay I will discuss the relationship between both George and Lennie, and why Steinbeck has decided to use two completely different characters in the same content.

A rather key way in which Steinbeck introduces Lennie and George is through the use of description. In the opening of the novel, Steinbeck decides to create suspense for the characters. He uses metaphorical language to compare Lennie like an animal “the way a bear drags his paws”, the idea of Steinbeck doing this allows the reader to assumedly suggest what type of person Lennie is straight away, the imagery of the bear represents how masculine, strong and loud Lennie comes across to be, but on the other hand it could represent how sometimes a bear is unaware of its actions and is dangerous, therefore this foreshadows what happens later on in the novel. Our understanding of Lennie begins to grow as we read further on into the novel. We know Lennie is seen as a strong character physically and George is a strong character verbally, but not so much physically as Lennie. The relationship may face some challenges as they’re dialect is obviously different, you would assume two close friends would show unity in the way they come across, but Steinbeck doesn’t use this typical idea of friendship in the novel.

As we read further on in the book we create an image for both characters. We start to realise how Lennie treats George as a father figure. Lennie, despite being slow and easily confused, is sure of this friendship. We see this when Lennie is subjected to answer Crooks’ joke when he says George might abandon him, Lennie jumps to reply “George wouldn’t do nothing like that” this shows that as dim-witted as Lennie seems, he will continue to reassure himself and believe that George would never leave because of the value of their relationship, from Lennie’s point of view, George is the most important person in his life his guardian and only friend. We also see that Lennie is reluctant and naïve; “but I wouldn’t eat none, George I’d leave it all for you. You could cover your beans with it and I wouldn’t touch none of it” the fact that Lennie outbursts in apology after George expresses to him his anger, goes to show the extent of earnestness Lennie has for their relationship, the idea that he is willing to sacrifice his desire (being ketchup) just shows how much he truly cares about George. We also see how much Lennie is dependant of George as he obeys George: “Yes” Lennie turned his head. “No, Lennie. Look down there across the river; you can almost see the place” Lennie obeys George” the fact that Lennie obeys George quickly shows there is a certain amount of respect for George, it shows he trusts George in whatever is being said, But we can then perceive this in two ways; a threatening, cruel way, or just the fact that Lennie understands the level of respect required with George. This also suggests to the reader that there are barriers in the relationship that affect how they treat each other, when Lennie chooses to obey George it may also show how Lennie cant decide for himself and he needs George to make his decisions for him.

On the other hand, I have explored the way Lennie’s and George’s characters may change once they are around other people. We can also link this to the way George treats Lennie, George who is constructed as a responsible father-like man, and then seen as a reluctant carer to Lennie can be seen as a battle between two personalities in one person. We realise George’s personality changes when he is talking to Lennie and referring to the dream...
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