George Milton: Of Mice and Men's Complex Protagonist

Categories: Of Mice and Men

Within John Steinbeck's novella "Of Mice and Men," George Milton emerges as a multifaceted character whose complexities unravel throughout the narrative. His partnership with Lennie Small, necessitated by Lennie's inability to fend for himself, forms the cornerstone of his existence, while his solitary, family-less life is spent toiling as a ranch hand.

The Authoritative and Compassionate Facets of George

George's character is delineated by an authoritative demeanor underscored by a sense of responsibility towards Lennie. This authoritative disposition becomes evident from the novella's outset.

Lennie, his companion, often exhibits childlike behavior, compelling George to adopt a direct and commanding approach. The need for clarity in communication arises to ensure Lennie comprehends instructions and avoids potential confusion or trouble. An early scene illustrates this as George confronts Lennie about a dead mouse, compelling him to relinquish it: "You gonna give me that mouse or do I have to sock you?" (Steinbeck 8). This paternalistic stance, necessitated by Lennie's limitations, places George in a role akin to that of a caregiver or guardian.

Get quality help now
Dr. Karlyna PhD
Dr. Karlyna PhD
checked Verified writer

Proficient in: Free Essays

star star star star 4.7 (235)

“ Amazing writer! I am really satisfied with her work. An excellent price as well. ”

avatar avatar avatar
+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

George's authoritative nature emerges as a byproduct of his commitment to caring for Lennie, yet it also fosters a sense of resentment within him. The sacrifice of his autonomy and personal pursuits to attend to Lennie's needs fuels this resentment. Expressing his unfiltered emotions, George reveals his inner turmoil: "...God a'mighty, if I was alone I could live so easy..." (Steinbeck 11). This sentiment underscores his affection for Lennie, juxtaposed against the burden Lennie's dependency places upon him. George's feelings oscillate between genuine care and exasperation, often surfaced during moments of frustration, exposing his irritable side.

Get to Know The Price Estimate For Your Paper
Number of pages
Email Invalid email

By clicking “Check Writers’ Offers”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We’ll occasionally send you promo and account related email

"You must agree to out terms of services and privacy policy"
Write my paper

You won’t be charged yet!

The Dichotomy of George's Feelings

George's relationship with Lennie epitomizes a dichotomy of emotions, intertwining love, responsibility, and occasional vexation. His devotion to Lennie, stemming from a sense of obligation and affection, is juxtaposed against the strains it imposes on his life. The depth of George's character lies in this intricate interplay of emotions, delineating a persona molded by circumstances and bound by duty.


George Milton, as depicted in John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men," transcends a mere archetype of a caretaker. His multifaceted nature, comprising an authoritative yet compassionate persona, underscores the complexities arising from his association with Lennie. The nuances in George's character, surfacing through his caregiving role, resentment, and moments of genuine affection, elevate him to a character emblematic of the human condition, navigating the intricacies of relationships, responsibility, and personal desires.

Throughout the novella, Steinbeck weaves a portrayal of George that extends beyond a mere caretaker, unraveling a character whose layers of emotion and responsibility evoke empathy and contemplation among readers, highlighting the delicate balance between duty and personal aspirations.

Updated: Dec 29, 2023
Cite this page

George Milton: Of Mice and Men's Complex Protagonist. (2016, Apr 01). Retrieved from

George Milton: Of Mice and Men's Complex Protagonist essay
Live chat  with support 24/7

👋 Hi! I’m your smart assistant Amy!

Don’t know where to start? Type your requirements and I’ll connect you to an academic expert within 3 minutes.

get help with your assignment