What were the motivations of Lennie and George?
internal vs. external
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Lennie's internal motivation was to have a place where he could be free. We see this is his desire to "live off the fatta' the lan.'" And external desire that is easy to see is his desire to touch soft things. He does this with the woman's dress (prior to the story's beginning), dead mouse, the puppy, Curley's wife's hair, and he hopes for this with the rabbits at their dream ranch.
George's motivation is to make it through today and tomorrow defending Lennie. Although he lets Lennie believe that George would be so much better off without him, I think George truly enjoys Lennie's gentle heart and character. He also takes his word seriously and since he promised Lennie's Aunt that he would take care of Lennie, George wants to follow through. These are internal motivations. On the external, George makes it appear as if he would like to have a girl and a good time. Although he probably really desires it all, he has made the sacrifice to keep Lennie around which prevents some motivations from becoming realities.
George's final motivation to kill Lennie in the book has more to do with protecting Lennie from pain than anything else. This is perhaps George's most admirable motivation because even though it seems wrong, it demonstrates responsibility and care.
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