How does Steinbeck present the relationship between George and Lennie in this chapter? The author John Steinbeck presents the relationship between the two characters, George and Lennie in different ways as they are both different characters and have different personalities. He presents it like a parent and child relationship, with George being the parent and Lennie the child. As soon as the reader is introduced to George and Lennie Steinbeck tells us that, “They had walked in single file down the path”. This immediately notifies the reader of the kind of relationship between George and Lennie, it does this by stating “single file”. This reminds us of a game called follow the leader. It also tells us that the person at the front (George) is responsible and the leader. We can also see this idea on page five. When George says, “I ain’t sure it’s good water”.
This again portrays the idea of George being the responsible, as he has to tell Lennie this and Lennie can’t tell himself. It also shows us that George is concerned over Lennie’s health. This implies that George has feelings for Lennie. We again see the idea of Lennie being like a child when on page sixteen he wants a story told to him again. This tells us Lennie is child like because this situation is like a parent reading a child a bedtime story. After drinking from the pool, when they are sat on the hill Lennie imitates George’s actions “he pulled his hat down a little more over his eyes the way George’s hat was.” Our immediate interpretation is that Lennie looks up to George as a role model, the quote “way George’s hat was” suggests he acts just like him and mimics him how a son would to a father.
We also notice that Lennie tries to be clever towards George to show that he is smart even though he is not, “he said cleverly”. We can see throughout chapter one that George several times feels sorry for Lennie. the phrase “poor bastard” not only tells that there is a sense of sympathy from George in the relationship, but it also sort of makes the reader feel sorry for Lennie, Steinbeck also implies this through stating that George “looked ashamedly at the fire”. I could also notice when I was reading through the first chapter that George has a sense of authority over Lennie, “you gonna get that wood”. This is like a parent telling a child to do his chores.
On some occasions though George shows a bit of hatred towards Lennie, he thinks of what he could have if Lennie wasn’t around and contrasts that with George. There is also a sense of lack of trust in the relationship between the two men. We see this through the predicament with the work cards. It tells us that George again has to take care of Lennie, and that Lennie isn’t trusted by George.
Again this idea is portrayed to the reader on page seventeen, we notice that George knows that he needs a plan b as Lennie cannot be trusted so his plan b is to tell Lennie to “hide in the brush until I come for you”. This helps us to understand the relationship even further. George also treats Lennie like a dog in one occasion in the chapter, “good boy”. This is something a master would say to a dog to encourage them, it also tells us the sort of role in the relationship George has again. In conclusion, we see that Steinbeck uses various techniques to portray the relationship between George and Lennie. But the main method is the idea of George being like a parent to Lennie.