How many different kinds of love are there in the novel?

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I think that one of the strongest examples of love is the transcendent love of dreams.  George holds this in terms of buying into the dream of making enough and being his own boss.  Lennie worships at its altar for it will enable him to tend to the...

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I think that one of the strongest examples of love is the transcendent love of dreams.  George holds this in terms of buying into the dream of making enough and being his own boss.  Lennie worships at its altar for it will enable him to tend to the rabbits.  Even Candy embraces this as a chance to escape his own being.  This love of dreams is also evident in how Curely's wife wanted to be a big star in "pitchers."  There is the love in one's dreams.  There is also the love that exists between friends, as seen in George and Lennie.  The ultimate act at the end of the novel is one in which there is love and tenderness evident. Even Crooks, who is alone, features a love of company, demonstrated in the way he torments Lennie with the option of George leaving him.   There is a form of love as lust in the way in which the men see Curley's wife and seek to spend their earnings at the local brothel.  Love of power is evident in Curley, and how he wishes to be in control, and love of power is seen in Carlson's desire to resolve issues through guns and his own assertion of authority.  The implications of these different examples of love is that Steinbeck is willing to entertain the idea that "love" is a complex and nuanced emotion that provides much in way of primary motivation to the individual.  Love is something that manifests itself in different ways, inescapable to our condition as human beings.  Yet, within the different dimensions that love offers comes the reality that we, as human beings, are inextricably bound to it.  It is the paradox that Steinbeck offers to show love as both the source of our greatest weakness and yet the driving force as our greatest strength.

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Fraternal (brotherly) love is an essential aspect of the novella; there is no textual evidence that there is erotic love (even with regards to Curley's wife), or that Lennie even understands sexuality at all.

The novella isn't a love story in this sense, but the bond of love that George feels for Lennie is so strong that George would rather kill Lennie himself than subject him to torture (shooting in the gut by Curley) or confinement (in a "booby hatch" or asylum).

George's love for Lennie can be seen as parental in this context. It (of course) is similar to the love that Candy feels for his old dog.

Thematically, many of Steinbeck's characters must be cruel to be kind. Slim kills four puppies so that the other five may grow strong; Candy's dog must die because it lives in pain and no longer has any usefulness; and Lennie is killed to spare him agony.

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