The novel “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck is set during the Great Depression. The story is about the friendship between two men, George and Lennie. Even though they are facing difficult times, they still remain friends and support each other. This shows that friendship is stronger than any adversity.
Friendship is a unique bond that connects two or more people in an unforgettable and wonderful manner. George Steinbeck’s novella Of Mice and Men follows the lives of two migrant laborers as they journey along the California coast in the 1930s. George, a smaller and smarter worker, and Lennie, a very large man with special needs. After Lennie gets himself into trouble, the pair flees to apply for work at a ranch in Soledad; there they meet Curley’s wife-Marge.
Along the way, they meet a multitude of people, and each encounter reveals a little more about the two men’s friendship. Lennie is childlike and George has to take care of him, but their bond is unbreakable. Friendship is a significant theme in this novel because it shows how even during the Great Depression, people still had companionship even if they were struggling.
The two protagonists, George and Lennie, form an unlikely friendship from the start. It’s evident that George takes care of Lennie because he is always looking out for him and telling him what to do. In return, Lennie provides company for George and someone to talk to. They both seem to need each other in order to get by in life.
“Lennie — for God’s sake don’t drink so much. You ain’t used to it. That’ll be why you got the headache… Now you go on back and lay down like I told you. I ain’t going to have you sick when we get to the ranch. Go on now, an’ do like I say.” (Steinbeck, 37)
George scolds Lennie for drinking too much water and giving himself a headache. He then proceeds to tell him what he needs to do in order to feel better. This shows how George looks out for Lennie and tries to take care of him as best as he can.
“George sat down on the bank and looked across the pool at Lennie, who was sitting patiently on his haunches gazing first at the water and then at George.” (Steinbeck,38)
This passage shows how loyal Lennie is to George. He is content just sitting and waiting for him, even though he doesn’t know how long it will take. All he wants is George’s company.
The two men rely on each other for different reasons, but their friendship is strong enough to get them through tough times. They have each other to lean on when things get tough, which is a powerful bond that not many people have.
George and Lennie arrive at the ranch and are welcomed as hard-working members of the crew, although they don’t care for the boss’ son, Curley. Throughout the book, George is looking after Lennie since to their great friendship and love for each other. George has looked after Lennie his entire life and is sometimes dragged down by him, but Lennie flourishes under George’s care.
Without George, Lennie would be incapable of living in society and would not understand the consequences of his actions. He would also be an easy target for people to take advantage of.
Lennie provides comic relief in the novel with his childlike innocence and tendency to get into trouble. Lennie is also a symbol of hope in the novel, as he represents the American dream of owning your own land and being self-sufficient. In the end, it is George’s tragic decision to kill Lennie that ultimately shows the true depth of their friendship.
George has always wanted Lennie to have the best for him, but the two are friends who would be ruined without one another. George appears to be constantly instructing Lennie throughout the narrative. This may be true, but it isn’t because George wants to feel powerful and dominating. Without George’s direction, Lennie might put himself or others in danger.
Lennie is not intelligent, and gets into trouble often because of his childlike innocence. George provides Lennie with structure and stability in a world that is constantly changing. Lennie gives George someone to talk to, and someone to care for. The two men are dependent on one another for their emotional well-being.
Lennie and George’s friendship is unique because it does not follow the typical power dynamic between friends. In most friendships, one person is usually more dominant than the other. This is not the case with Lennie and George’s relationship. Both men rely on each other equally. They both need each other to survive emotionally. This type of friendship is rare, and it is one of the things that makes Of Mice and Men so special.
George and Lennie’s friendship is tested several times throughout the novel. The first time is when Lennie accidentally kills Curley’s wife. George is tempted to abandon Lennie, but he does not. He knows that if he leaves Lennie, Lennie will be killed for sure. He sticks by his friend, even though it would be easier to walk away.
The second time their friendship is tested is when George is tempted to sell Lennie to Slim. Slim offers George a lot of money for Lennie, and George is tempted because he knows it would be enough to buy him and Lennie their own farm. In the end, George decides not to sell his friend because he could not bear the thought of living without him.
The final test of their friendship comes when George has to shoot Lennie himself. This is the most difficult thing George has ever had to do, but he knows it is necessary. He cannot let Lennie be killed by strangers who would not understand his innocence. He shoots Lennie in the back of the head, and then finds a place to bury him.
George and Lennie’s friendship is one of the most beautiful things in Of Mice and Men. It is rare to find two people who need each other as much as these two men do. Their friendship is tested multiple times, but it always remains strong. In the end, George proves that he would rather die than live without Lennie. This is the ultimate act of friendship, and it is what makes Of Mice and Men so special.
Lennie tries to recall what George has said or taught him, and he does so about 90 percent of the time. When Lennie loses control and becomes frightened, he does not follow precisely what George instructs him to do, yet he remembers it. “You’ll get me into trouble just like George says you will.
” (Steinbeck, 75). Lennie is very loyal to George, which makes their friendship strong. Lennie always goes to great lengths to make sure that he does not get in trouble and that he does everything that George tells him to do. He is always trying to please George and make him happy.
“Don’t you think I knowed it?…I done another bad thing today…I was so little an’ scared till I done it…You wasn’t there when we was livin’ in a cage like rabbits. You wasn’t there when the guys come with clubs an’ smashed up our places. An’ you ain’t never been hungry, have you? An’ you ain’t never had no place of your own to sleep in, have you? Have you?
No, Lennie always tries to please George and make him happy because he knows that their friendship is strong and that George is the only one who truly cares for him.
“Lennie’s got a real bad habit of killin’ things. Mice, puppies, an’, well, people too sometimes.” (Steinbeck, 13). From the beginning of their friendship, George has always looked out for Lennie and been there for him. He has always been patient with Lennie and understanding of his situation.