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What is the internal conflict that the protagonist, George, from Of Mice and Men, must...

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jball12345 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 10, 2010 at 7:07 AM via web

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What is the internal conflict that the protagonist, George, from Of Mice and Men, must face?

Doing a novel project need help with this one.

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted January 10, 2010 at 9:35 AM (Answer #1)

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George's internal conflict surrounds his loyalty to Lennie and the company he brings versus the freedom he could have if he could travel alone.

This dilemma is on his mind from the beginning of the novel, when he loses his temper at Lennie's request for ketchup:

'Whatever we ain't got, that's what you want. God a'mighty, if I was alone I could live so easy. I could go and get a job an' work, an' no trouble....An' whatta I got,' George went on furiously. 'I got you! You can't keep a job and you lose me ever' job I get. Jus' keep me shovin' all over the country all the time. An' that ain't the worst. You get in trouble. You do bad things and I got to get you out’

George has to look after himself as well as Lennie, and almost instantly he sees the dangers that Curley and his wife will present to Lennie.

George learns from Candy's response to the shooting of his dog that he is responsible for Lennie and this influences his decision to shoot Lennie himself rather than let Curley's lynch mob get him. George has taken the decision that he can do no more for Lennie, and allows the men to assume that the shooting was in self defence in order that he is a truly free man. Ironically Slim understands George's decision and appears to know the truth of the incident -

'Never you mind,' said Slim. 'A guy got to sometimes.'

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted January 10, 2010 at 8:26 AM (Answer #2)

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In the short book "Of Mice and Men" George has the responsibility of looking after his mentally challenged friend Lenny.  They have been together their whole lives and travel together to find work ion farms and ranches.

Lenny is very strong.  He establishes an enemy in Curley, the ranch owner’s son and a bully.  Slim, the head ranch hand, gives Lenny a puppy.  Lenny goes into the barn to pet it but kills the puppy.  He did not mean to but he does not know his own strength.

Curley's wife invites Lenny to touch her hair.  He beings petting it to roughly.  She starts screaming and he panics.  He accidentally kills her.

George finds the girl and realizes what Lenny has done.  He gets to Lenny before the ranch hands and Curley who are ready to lynch Lenny.  George is faced with the dilemma of ending his friend's life at his hands or allowing the men to end Lenny's life in a frightening and possibly torturous way.

George shoots and kills Lenny.

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