The rude inquisition and verbal abuse that George receives from the Boss is intended to illustrate why George wants to own a place of his own. This particular boss is representative of many bosses who employ unskilled and itinerant farm workers. No doubt the Boss has to be tough because he is dealing with tough men and because he is demanding a lot from them for very little pay. A boss has to show "who's boss." Here is an example of the Boss's verbal abuse:
All right. But don't try to put nothing over, 'cause you can't get away with nothing. I seen wise guys before.
George has to stand there and take whatever the Boss dishes out. He has been taking it for much of his life. The fact that George has to get a job for Lennie as well as for himself makes his situation that much worse. George is characterized as intelligent, sensitive, independent, and spunky. He is different from the average bindlestiff who has been beaten down by life. The Boss considers George a "wise guy." This is how bosses in general would feel about men who seemed independently spirited. Such men could cause dissatisfaction among the other workers. George is obviously a cut above the others, judging from the fact that he is not only taking care of himself but looking out for another man as well. The Boss is more than just another character; he represents ranch owners and ranch managers in general. He is not a bad man, but he has to be tough, watchful, and hard-driving. He is dealing with a bunch of drifters who are all virtual strangers. No doubt he has had plenty of bad experiences with men such as these. In fact, the two men George and Lennie are replacing were pretty useless, according to Slim. Such drifters could be lazy, incompetent, dishonest, quarrelsome, and even dangerous. The Boss is judging George and Lennie in the light of all the bad experiences he has had in the past. George is a proud man. His main reason for wanting a place of his own is to get away from bosses forever.