In the story “Of Mice & Men”, John Steinbeck creates a pair of low-class companionship as the story’s main character. This pair of companionship, George and Lennie is very different from each other, nothing alike, no matter talking about their figures, personality, IQ, etc, except that they both carry the same American dream as they spend their hard days traveling together and working in the ranch.
Lennie is portrayed as being childlike. He looks up on George as a parental figure: “Lennie’s lips quivered and tears started in his eyes.” Lennie seek reassurance from George like a child does from their parents. He displays the excitement of a child: “Tell me about the rabbits, George. Tell me about the rabbits.”
Steinbeck suggests that Lennie’s dependent on George and that we all need companionship even if the relationship is unequal.
Not only is Lennie portrayed as being childlike, but also very forgetful: “I forgot, tried not to forget. Honest to god I did George”. Lennie always gets in trouble, and always needs George to help him out.: “Course you did. Well, look Lennie— if you jus’ happen to get in trouble like u always done before, I want you to come right here and hide in the bush”. Not only does he make himself in trouble but also gives trouble to George: “An’ whatta I got, I got you! You can’t keep a job and you lose me ever’ job I get.
Steinbeck wants to give the readers a hint or preparation that a serious event is going to occur with Lennie, he also wants to convey that although Lennie is big, it doesn’t mean that he has a big brain nor can he be independent and look after himself.
Lennie is also being put in a character with characteristic’s like an animal: “His huge companion dropped his blankets and flung himself down and drank from the green pool; drank with long gulps, snorting into the water like a horse.” Lennie enjoys keeping mice, but as a result always kills it:” They were so little, I’d pet them, and pretty soon they bit my fingers and I pinch they heads a little and they was dead— because they were so little.”
Steinbeck wants to show that a big man also has a sensitive side, and that being strong also has disadvantages, especially for Lennie who enjoys to pet mice and as a result kills it very quickly due to his big, strong hands.
Lennie’s physique is described by Steinbeck as being big, strong looking, but is also described to have body parts in which imitating an animal: “A huge man, shapeless of face, with large, pale eyes, with wide, sloping shoulders; and he walked heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws.” Although Lennie is very immature, but he is a very helpful and great worker : “Say, you sure was right about him. Maybe he ain’t bright, but I never seen such a worker.He damn near killed his partner buckin’barley. There ain’t nobody can keep up with him. God, awmighty I never seen such a strong guy.”
Steinbck points out that even an immature, childish man like Lennie with low IQ, can also work better than a normal man, and that we should always give a chance to people like Lennie to work like a normal person with no prejudice against them.
Lennie is a very simple minded man, and does whatever George tells
him to do. He never thinks for himself and won’t bother to rate if it was dangerous or not, he simply just does as he says, like master and servant: “Tell you what made me stop that One day a bunch of guys were standin’ around Sacramento River.I was feelin’pretty smart. I turned to Lennie and says “Jump in” and he jumps, couldn’t swim a stroke. He damned near drowned before we could get him.” Not only does Lennie always listen to Georges demands, but he also never rejects him and never dares to argue with him. “He never got mad with it neither. I’ve beat the hell outa him, and he could bust every bone in me just with his one han’, but he never lifted a finger against me”.
Steinbeck expresses to readers that Lennie looks up at George at a higher status, like an idol and believes that whatever George tells him to do, is for his own good, which is why he listens to George not minding if it is dangerous or not.
Where as the other main character in the story “Of Mice & Men”, known as George, is totally different from Lennie. George is suggested to protect Lennie too much, and that he doesn’t let Lennie talk when he is suppose to. When he sells Lennie too much, people might mistaken that George is hiding something about Lennie.: “Then why don’t you let him answer? What you trying to put over?”. George also uses a special technique to make Lennie listen to him, from this technique he gives pressure to Lennie so that he will always keep George’s words in mind.: “But you ain’t gonna get in no trouble, because if you do, I won’t let you tend the rabbits.”
Steinbeck points out that George is protecting Lennie too much, and that he should always let him try and let him communicate more, socialize more and approach the outside world more, or else he would depend on George too much and takes it as an advantage.
George is also suggested to be smart, and has a lot of common sense. He uses his sensitive sensitivity to teach and lead Lennie to the right track: “Tastes all right, don’t really seem to be running though. You never oughta drink water when it ain’t running, Lennie.” Not only is George sensitive but he is also very smart in the ability to judge correctly: “You never had none, you crazy bastard. I got both of ’em here. Think I let you carry your own work card?”
Steinbeck shows the readers that it is an advantage for Lennie to be looked after by George, for George has the power to untie him from troubles he makes, and knows what’s best for him. Steinbeck also tells the readers, that the people with the same problems as Lennie should always be helped and be guided to the right way, instead of being discriminated.
George also gets very fed up with Lennie sometimes, having to escape with Lennie from the troubles Lennie has caused from time to time.: “God a’mighty, if I was to live alone I could live so easy. I could get a job and work, and no trouble. No mess at all, and when the end of the month come I could take my fifty bucks and go into town and get whatever I want.” But on the other hand, he also cares a lot about Lennie’s feelings, and always persuades him to think towards the positive side when Lennie is depressed.: “Aw, Lennie! I ain’t taking it away jus’ for meanness. That mouse ain’t fresh, Lennie; and besides, you’ve broke it pettin’ it. You get another mouse that’s fresh and I’ll let you keep it a while.”
Steinbeck suggests that in order to be companionships, we will have to care for one and another’s feelings, Steinbeck also coveys that there aren’t any perfect pair of companionship, for there has to be arguments between people, since humans are born with these characteristics.
George having to be a trustworthy companionship with Lennie, always believes in his partner no matter what happens. He will always trust Lennie for whatever he does, and the decisions he makes.: “Lennie never done it in meanness. All the time he done bad things, but never done one of them mean.” George makes the relationship between Lennie and him like a family, George tells Lennie about their dreams, and how they are different to other people, as if it’s going to come true. George gives hope to Lennie making him feel better and have a target so that he won’t feel that he is working for nothing and that they are working to make their dream come true.: ” But not us! An’ why? Because …because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s why……”.
Steinbeck tells the readers that although these low-class workers are poor and lonely, they haven’t got a stable home. But George and Lennie are different. For they carry a hope, a dream. This is why George and Lennie are never lonely. Steinbeck also suggests that an American dream in those days, does not come true easily.
Overall I think that John Steinbeck wants us to know that we should use Lennie and George as an example to how we should treat people with the same problems as Lennie is facing. Instead of discriminating them, we should always give them a hand of trust to help them. John Steinbeck also suggests that although Lennie may have mental problems, but from this information, it doesn’t mean that Lennie is useless. He may be stupid, but he is very hard working and may be better than most normal workers working in the ranch. John Steinbeck also wants us to know that although people like Lennie often creates serious problems due to his stupidity, this doesn’t suggest that he can use his low IQ, and stupidity as an excuse to not face the problem and just find another job, not caring what he had done before.