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How does Steinbeck use George and Lennie's relationship in the novel as a whole to...

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vermaa09 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 4, 2012 at 6:41 PM via web

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How does Steinbeck use George and Lennie's relationship in the novel as a whole to convey ideas about America in the 1930s?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 4, 2012 at 7:04 PM (Answer #1)

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I tend to think that Steinbeck is offering a vision through the relationship shared by Lennie and George of what American society should be as opposed to what it is.  Frequently and through different characters, Steinbeck speaks to how unique it is for George and Lennie to be together and to look out for one another.  In a world of increasing isolationism and atomized individualism, Steinbeck offers a friendship between George and Lennie whereby individuals take care of one another and stand with one another.  As opposed to the condition in which America of the 1930s finds itself, Steinbeck is suggesting that individuals can persevere through difficult economic conditions and still be able to look out and care for one another.  this becomes something of vital importance to Steinbeck's statement.  It is here where he is able to use the relationship that George and Lennie share as a way to convey ideas about America in the 1930s.  It is a statement of how individuals can remain committed to one another in pursuit of their dreams and not abdicate the bonds that exist between them as they seek to make their own lives better.

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