In the first chapter of "Of Mice and Men" how does Lennie manipulate George, and how does he accomplish it?

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bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

George and Lennie have arrived at the spot where they're going to spend the night, and as they're talking, George notices that Lennie takes something out of his pocket. Lennie tries to pretend that he doesn't have anything, but he must finally admit that he has a dead mouse. George takes the mouse and throws it away, but Lennie notices where George throws it. George then sends Lennie to look for wood for the fire, and Lennie comes back with one little stick in one hand and wet feet. George immediately realizes that Lennie spent his time looking for the dead mouse George had thrown on the other side of the river rather than gathering wood for the fire.  

This is the first time we hear George tell Lennie the "story" of what life is going to be like when they own their own ranch. George gets angry at Lennie for how much trouble he is, and Lennie manipulates George into telling the story by offering to go off and live in a cave. Lennie makes George feel guilty for losing his temper and offers two more times to go off on his own. George then offers to buy Lennie a pup, but "Lennie avoided the bait.He had sensed his advantage." George's anger softens, and "Lennie spoke craftily, 'Tell me--like you done before.'" This is how Lennie gets George to tell the story he loves to hear. 

pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter one, as the two men are traveling, George discovers that Lennie has been petting a dead mouse in his hand.  He takes the mouse and throws it away.  He scolds Lennie and reminds him why they are running away.  Lennie goes and finds the dead mouse, George discovers it again and throws it away.

This time George explains to the saddened Lennie why the mouse is harmful, it is unclean.  Lennie begins to cry, so George promises to get Lennie a puppy, even though he knows that Lennie's strength always ends up killing the poor animals.

In his childlike way, that is almost heartbreaking,  Lennie suggests to George that he leave him and go off by himself, that George would be better off without him.  George begins to feel bad for the harsh way that he spoke to Lennie. 

He admits to Lennie that he was being mean when he spoke to him about the dead mouse and about all the trouble he causes.  He tells him that he doesn't want him to leave. 

Even though George and Lennie need each other, George knows that his life would be simplier without Lennie.  He also knows that he would be terribly lonely without him.  So like a child that makes a parent feel guilty for scolding him, Lennie manipulates George in the same way.

higginsj131 | Student

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