Explain the differences between Geroge and Lennie in "Of Mice and Men"?

Expert Answers
Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of course, there are the physical differences obvious from Steinbeck's initial description:

The first man was small and quick, dark of face, with restless eyes and sharp, strong features.  Every part of him was defined: small strong hands, slender arms, a thin and bony nose.  Behind him walked his opposite, a huge man, shapeless of face, with large pale eyes, with wide, sloping shoulders...

But the more important differences around found not in their physicality, but in their ability to interpret the world.  For example, when George and Lennie arrive at Curley's ranch, George is able to immediately assess the threat level and the need to convince the man to hire them both.  Lennie, on the other hand, with his child-like innocence, prompty forgets George's strict instructions to remain silent.   Unlike his friend, he approaches all situations with his trademark honesty.

While the friends do have marked differences, they share a desire to protect one another and to hope for a better life.  Here, Lennie urges George to "tell his favorite story":

"We got a future.  We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us..."

"Because...because... I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that's why"