Is George Lennie’s keeper?Analyze George’s role in the story and the universal themes developed as biblical allusions by incorporating comparisons to the story of Cain and     Abel from the...

Is George Lennie’s keeper?

Analyze George’s role in the story and the universal themes developed as biblical allusions by incorporating comparisons to the story of Cain and     Abel from the “Book of Genesis” to support your answer.

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e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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George pledges to take care of Lennie. In fact he promises Lennie's aunt that he will look after Lennie when she is gone. This promise proves to be both a burden and a blessing for George, providing him with a child-like person to keep in line as well as a companion to keep him company. 

George, with all his personal limitations, is a man who has committed himself in a compassionate relationship.

Lennie is incapable of taking care of himself. George knows this. Lennie also has violent tendencies and has probably killed someone in Weed. George knows this as well. Each of these traits in Lennie make George's task challenging and important. George has to keep Lennie safe from the world and has to keep the world safe from Lennie. 

When Lennie kills Curley's wife, George accepts the responsibility for meting out justice, protecting Lennie from lynching or being shot, but killing him none-the-less. 

Unlike Candy, who earlier abandoned responsibility for his old dog and allows Carlson to shoot the animal, George remains his brother's keeper.

In contrast to the story of Cain and Abel, George positively accepts his role as caretaker. He gripes about it from time to time, but he does not shirk his duties intentionally. George also does not envy Lennie, nor does Lennie envy George. 

Comparing the two stories then we see that they are related yet stand as inversions of one another. The Biblical story has a theme of resentment which leads to murder. The novella has a theme of compassion which leads to the same end. 

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