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How does the line, "Lennie looked timidly over to him [George]..." indicate the...

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rachel-xx | Student, Grade 10 | Honors

Posted March 18, 2012 at 6:53 AM via web

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How does the line, "Lennie looked timidly over to him [George]..." indicate the relationship between George and Lennie? 

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 18, 2012 at 9:52 AM (Answer #1)

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In Chapter 1 of Of Mice and Men, George Milton leads Lennie Small as they walk single file; in contrast to George, who is quick and small, "dark of face, with restless eyes and sharp, strong features," Lennie is

a huge man, shapeless of face, with large, plae eyes, with wide, sloping shoulders; and he walked heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws.  His arms did not swing at his sides, but hung loosely.

He follows George in "dog-like devotion."  After the men drink from the pool in a clearing where they have stopped for the night before beginning a new job at a ranch, George sits back drawing up his knees with Lennie in imitation.  Angrily, George bemoans that the bus driver has dropped them off so far from the ranch and they have had to walk a few miles in the heat.

Lennie looked timidly over to him. "George?"

"Yeah, what ya want?"

"Where we goin', George?" 

These lines indicate the role of intellectual and emotional dependency which Lennie has with respect to his friend, George.  In fact, later in the narrative, the parallels between George and Lennie's relationship with that of the old swamper Candy and his dog become apparent.  For, much like a bear who "drags his paws" and a horse as he drinks "with long gulps," Lennie is dependent upon George for his food, his direction, and even his thoughts.  Because he is incapable of living on his own--his dying Aunt Clara requested that George look out for him--Lennie is timid around George, lacking any self-confidence.

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