What are 8 character traits of George?  Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

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Representative of the dispossessed white males of the Great Depression, George Milton exemplifies the dignity of the man who, despite his disenfranchisement, maintains his self-respect and purpose.  Here are some salient traits/skills George possesses in Of Mice and Men:

1.  survival skills - George has a great deal of common sense. In the first chapter, for example, he figures that he and Lennie can enjoy a peaceful evening and arrive at the ranch the next morning after a good rest.  In this way, they will only have to work one half of the day.

2.  leadership skills -In the first chapter, George leads the way as the mentally challenged Lennie follows, as he "walked heavily, dragging his feet a little" in a subservient manner. The next day, in the bunkhouse, George establishes his place quickly, questioning the old swamper, Candy, about he previous occupant of his bunk.  whom he accuses of probing into his and Lennie's business too much. 

3.  interpersonal skills - When confronted by the bellicose Curley, George understands how to maintain his dignity as well as that of Lennie.  In Chapter 2, for instance, when Curley lashes out, "...he's [Lennie] gotta talk when he spoken to," George "coldly" maintains "We travel together," and refuses to make Lennie answer.

Also in this same chapter as he converseswith Slim, George senses Slim's kindness and "invitation to confidence without demanding it"; so, he feels safe in confiding infomation about himself and Lennie. George also understands quickly after her appearance in the doorway of the bunkhouse that Curley's wife is going to be "trouble."

4.  intrapersonal skills - Despite his angry flare-ups at Lennie, George does love him as proven by his repetition of the "dream" for Lennie's sake.  Of course, his final act of sparing Lennie institutionalization is interpreted as an act of love.  Indeed, his strong sense of fraternity with Lennie is indicative of the power of this brotherhood that acts as the solution for the alienation and loneliness and cruelty of men.  In Chapter 3, George tells Slim,

"I seen the guys that go around on the ranches alone.  That ain't no good.  They don't have no fun.  After a long time they get mean.  They get wantin' to fight all the time." 

6. a sense of fraternity - George is protective of Lennie; he keeps Lennie from trouble as much as possible. In short, George always looks out for Lennie; with a sense of brotherhood, he also shares in Lennie's dream of owning their own place.

7. a sense of respect for the individual - In Chapter 2, when Lennie's manhood is threatened by Curley, George tells Lennie's to go ahead and strike him.  For, George understands that Lennie must prove that he can defend himself as a man.

8. a sense of human dignity - George's final act of shooting Lennie exemplifies his sense that a man must be a man, and not treated as an animal to be slain or caged. Or, George does not believe in a man being dehumanized by having his individual soul ignored.  This is why he includes Candy in his and Lennie's dream and why he instructs Lennie to avoid Curley's wife as she will simply exploit the vulnerable man.


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