Do you think that George is being honest when he states that he would be better off without Lennie?George appears to get easily annoyed wth Lennie...

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

George would have to be pretty stupid if he didn't think to himself, at least sometimes, that Lennie was a burden and a painful responsibility. Steinbeck had to indicate that George got fed up with taking care of a childlike man when he had enough trouble just taking care of himself. The fact that he had promised this Aunt Clara to look after Lennie is a flimsy motivation for him to take on a full-time job as guardian of a man who is not only incompetent but potentially dangerous. Lennie could not only get into trouble, but he could get George into trouble, as he did in Weed when he assaulted a girl. Steinbeck had to give Lennie virtually superhuman strength in order to show that George is getting at least something out of the relationship. Lennie's strength can help them get jobs. Steinbeck could have depicted George's negative feelings about Lennie in several ways. He could have had George express them in dialogue to a third party. He could have gone into George's stream-of-consciousness. He could have simply explained them as the omniscient third-person narrator. But he chose to have George complain directly to Lennie, knowing that Lennie already understood that he was a burden but had to put up with a certain amount of scolding and actual verbal abuse because he was totally dependent on George. George would be better off without Lennie, and he knows it.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes.  Practically speaking, George is encumbered by Lennie whose past actions have gotten them fired and in trouble.  George must constantly cover for Lennie and worry about what he is going to say and do because Lennie, childlike in his intelligence, does not understand situations, nor does he know what is appropriate behavior.

And no.  Emotionally, George has a brother-like friend to love, nuture, and share his life with.  When he shoots Lennie out of love for his friend whom he can no longer protect, George shivers, for he is bereft of the warmth of love.  He throws the gun onto the ashes, the remnants of fire and life. He is alone.

e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As much as George does actually enjoy Lennie's companionship, it is hard to imagine that he wouldn't find a better friend than Lennie.

In his travels, George would seem sure to find a friend that wouldn't rely so heavily upon him and continually compromise all of his relationships, his employment, and his ability to sleep at night without worrying about live mice, dead mice and the guy who keeps both in his pockets.

epollock | Student

George is honest when he says that he is better off without Lennie.  It was only a matter of time before Lennie's problems multiplied, and after all, how much worse can they get when your friend commits manslaughter.

As long as they were together, their dream of a farm with rabbits was just a dream. They encumbered each other with no ambition or plan to acquire the farm, simply dreams of it.

At least, George has a fighting chance to stand on his own for the first time without looking over his shoulder to the next trouble Lennie would find himself in.

iheartcheese | Student

No, i dont think he did. When he is with lennie, he has a sence of belonging. And when he has to shoot lennie, onlky because he is no longer to protect him. he is left alone for the first time ever.

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Of Mice and Men

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