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Why do George and Lennie run away from Weed in Of Mice and Men?

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batgirl527 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 8, 2010 at 11:03 AM via web

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Why do George and Lennie run away from Weed in Of Mice and Men?

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 8, 2010 at 11:10 AM (Answer #1)

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George and Lennie are forced to run away from Weed because Lennie frightened a girl so much, she accused him of trying to rape her. When George tells the story to Slim, George explains that Lennie just likes to touch soft things and the girl was wearing a dress made of soft material. When he asked to touch it, the girl said "yes" but became frightened when Lennie would not let go. The more she tried to escape, the tighter Lennie held on to her dress. She assumed Lennie was trying to rape her and the men of Weed formed a posse to try to catch Lennie. Both Lennie and George were able to escape by hiding in a ditch and then leaving the area.

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted January 8, 2010 at 8:03 PM (Answer #2)

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In the novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, the part of the plot where George and Lennie run away from Weed is very important. This is because it shows the beginning or continuation of a behavioral pattern. It also shows that George is beginning to cotton on to that fact and that it is beginning to cause him anxiety. Indeed, the lines "All the time somethin like that, all the time." are foreshadowing the events that are to come. George does his best to shelter himself and Lennie from the consequences of the unusual behavior, but will soon realise that they are going to occur again and again, over and over, becuase learning-challenged Lennie has difficulty learning and remembering the lesson of past experiences. When the end finally comes, we may speculate that these thoughts are in his mind when he makes his tragic and terrible decision.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 8, 2010 at 11:16 AM (Answer #3)

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With his focus on the alienation of the itinerant workers in California during the Great Depression, John Steinbeck has his main characters emerge from Weed much as Moses was found is the bullrushes/weeds of the Nile:  alone and without a home.  Like Moses, they, too, flee oppression, for Lennie has gotten them into trouble in Weed by grabbing onto a girl's dress that he "Jus' wanted to feel--jus' wanted to pet it like it was a mouse."

When the Samson-like Lennie holds onto the dress, the girl panicks, sensing his strength.  George relives the scene with Lennie:

She jerks back and you hold on like it was a mouse.  She yells and we got to hide in a irrigation ditch all day with guys lookin' for us, and we got to sneak out in the dark and get outta the country.  All the time somethin' like that--all the time.

The women in this novella, "Of Mice and Men," are, indeed, somewhat like Delilha of the Bible, for they tempt the men and interfere with the masculinity of the male characters.  There is no place for them in the fraternity of men, for they cause conflict and pose danger constantly, certainly for George and the unsuspecting and childlike Lennie.

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hakbar | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 17, 2010 at 4:54 PM (Answer #4)

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The two men were forced to run away because Lennie, who likes to touch soft things, sees a red dress that he begins to touch. His touch becomes aggressive and is mistaken for a possible rape attempt. George helps Lennie escape because he had promised Lennie's aunt Clara he would take care of Lennie when she passed. George feels responsible for Lennie and knows he wouldn't hurt anybody because Lennie has a mental disability. Therefore they leave Weed and find a job in another town at a ranch where Lennie gets into trouble agian and George is forced to take care of him once more.

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William Delaney | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 13, 2014 at 1:05 AM (Answer #5)

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Weed was actually named after a man named Weed. It is still a very small town in a mountainous, heavily forested region, with a population of just under 3,000 by the last census. It would have been smaller in 1937. It is located just below the Oregon border. It was an unlikely place for George and Lennie to be working, but Steinbeck wanted to put it as far away as possible because he didn’t want anyone around Salinas to have heard the real truth about the incident. That real truth was probably that Lennie attacked a very young girl without really understanding what his sexual motivation was. Something similar happened with the idiot Benjy in William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. Jason had to have Benjy castrated. The girl Lennie molested started screaming and attracted a mob of local men who intended to lynch both Lennie and George. George was not present when Lennie molested the girl. They were immediately on the run, so George only got the story from Lennie--and Lennie shows in Chapter One that he lies to George all the time. Furthermore, Lennie didn't understand his own motives because (1) he is mentally retarded, (2) his sex drive is new to him. When George sees the dead body of Curley's wife, he will understand what was really happening in Weed. Lennie didn't just want to feel the dress. He might have torn the dress right off the girl if George hadn't intervened.

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