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It is interesting that Steinbeck names his bear-like, massive character Lennie Small, while the "small and quick" man who accompanies him through the willows in Chapter 1 as George Milton. Named after the scholarly British Renaissance poet who wrote Paradise Lost, George is the voice for the themes of Of Mice and Men. For instance, his recitation for Lennie, the keeper of their dream, expresses the motif of the fraternity of men and the need for this union;
With us it ain't like that. We got a furture. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. We don't have to sit in no bar room blowin' in our jack jus' becuse we got no place else to go. If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us....because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that's why.
Loyal in his friendship, George is also pure of heart. He warns Lennie not to conflict with others such as Curley, who represents the insensitive owners of large ranches and farms and against Curley's wife, the temptress of materialism, a character who desires things only for herself. George understands that women can break apart men's friendships, the most important of bonds:
She's gonna make a mess. They's gonna be a bad mess about her. She's a jail bait all set on the trigger.
With Slim, whose ears hear what is not said and whose eyes are "God-like," George finds a friend to whom he can confide.. With this relationship there is happiness for George, but his prediction about Curley's wife comes true and the communion of men is upset. After the death of Lennie, George tells old Candy,
"--I think I knowed from the very first. I think I nowed we'd never do her [the dream of owning a ranch.] He usta like to hear about is so much I got to thinking maybe we would."
The disenfranchised itinerant man of the Great Depression, George represents the terrible isolation and alienation from his society that was the fate of many. Through the character of George Milton, Steinbeck expresses the theme that despite the "best laid plans of mice and men" the materialistic forces will destroy these dreams of bright and small men alike.
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