How does Steinbeck portray the relationship between George and Lennie?
Of Mice and Men was first published in 1937, during the economic depression America was facing. George and Lennie are two migrant workers who have left their previous jobs in haste following accusations of attempted rape by Lennie, the larger of the two characters. Steinbeck raises the question to the reader why these two men travelling together, (which was very rare for the migrant worker) were involved in an unlikely partnership. George is intelligent and carries self-confidence, whereas Lennie is of an enormous build and has the mind capability of a young child. George and Lennie’s “dream” very much relates to that of the American Dream of many migrant workers during the economic crisis. Steinbeck portrays the relationship between George and Lennie throughout the novel with the use of language and similarity to that of a real migrant worker in 1930’s America.
In the first chapter, George is seen as a father to Lennie, who is described using animal imagery. George is “small…with restless eyes and sharp, strong features” which perhaps identifies his position as leader with Steinbeck conveying this idea using the verb “restless” to describe George’s eyes. Lennie on the other hand is described as his opposite, “a huge man…and he walked heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws” illustrating that Lennie is described as completely different to George, with him being compared to a bear showing he has animalistic characteristics. This comparison shows that he heavily relies on George to guide him in the right direction and also questions why they have a relationship if they are so different from each other. George is always protecting Lennie, and prevents him drinking dank water. George tells Lennie it “Looks kinda scummy”, with Steinbeck conveying the idea that George is there to keep him away from trouble. George also gives demands to Lennie, which reiterates...
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