How does Steinbeck present the relationship between George and Lennie?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Given that alienation, friendship, and loyalty are all important themes in Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men, the relationship presented between Lennie and George is necessary to help readers understand the importance as related to the themes.

Steinbeck shows readers the conflicts which exist in every relationship. The relationship between Lennie and George, therefore, has conflict typical of any given relationship. Steinbeck even shows readers how conflict within a friendship is resolved.

From the very beginning of the novel, readers understand that George is taking care of Lennie. readers can see his frustrations which stem from Lennie's neediness and diminished mental capacities. Regardless of this, George knows that Lennie needs him--in more ways then one.

For example, in chapter one, after a fight about ketchup, Lennie tells George that he will leave and go live in the hills on his own. The friendship between Lennie and George is so strong that George realizes that he has hurt Lennie and tells him that he is sorry and wants Lennie around.

Regardless of the conflicts, Steinbeck shows a relationship which is strong until the end. While George is forced to take Lennie's life, his love for Lennie is what forces him to do this.


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