Of mice & menDiscuss the relationship between George & Lennie

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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George and Lennie represent the fraternity of men in a time of great alienation.  Dring the 1930s, so many men traveled in the boxcars of trains to lonely places where they worked lonely jobs with no one that they knew or trusted.  But, George and Lennie are friends and together their lives are more meaningful.  While George looks out for Lennie, Lennie offers George love as well as being the keeper of the dream.  Without Lennie, George has little hope.

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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I guess you could say, in a modern sense, that they are co-dependent.  On the surface, it appears as though Lennie needs George and that George feels obligated, is weighted down by or wishes he didn't have to be Lennie's caretaker.  But it becomes obvious throughout the story that George needs Lennie just as much.  They are each the closest thing the other has to family.

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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George and Lennie are family, even though they are not related. They only have each other. No one else in the world cares about their existence. The two of them are fortunate to have each other. Many of the ranch hands have no one who cares. George will be lost without Lennie. In fact, he tells Candy the dream is over. George no longer dreams. A dream is important if you have someone to share it. Without Lennie, George will have an empty place in his heart.

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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George is an honorable man who takes his responsibility to Lennie quite seriously, even if he does get frustrated with him at times. The life George and Lenny live is suited to the two of them, but it is a lonely life. Having someone to share a dream with is important when you live this kind of restless, rootless, nomadic life. Their relationship is symbiotic--each of them needs the other. 

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Their relationship was in some regards a simple one, yet George found a new phase of his life open up when he found himself the caretaker of Lennie. In many ways, he only did it because he had made a promise, but, over time, he came to do it because he and Lennie needed each other and shared a silent loving respect for each other.

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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George is like a parent to Lennie - he looks after their work cards, organises their food and job plans. He tries to steer Lennie into behaviour that is acceptable and tries in vain to make his big childlike friend appear to be a competent adult. Lennie is a fast and efficient worker who is happy to work hard with George at his side. Together they make an adequate team.

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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George is Lennie's protector. He looks out for Lennie and tries to instruct him as he can. He knows Lennie does not understand and never will, so they travel together and George gets Lennie work. George protects Lennie because he needs companionship.
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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the best way to characterize this relationship is to say that each of them depends on the other.  Lennie needs George in obvious ways to take care of him given his mental shortcomings.  But George also needs Lennie.  Lennie improves George as a person.  He allows George to be something other than a selfish and aimless person.  He gives George the chance to be something more.  For that reason, he is as important to George as George is to him.

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nakakura | Student | eNotes Newbie

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I think that the best way to characterize this relationship is to say that each of them depends on the other.  Lennie needs George in obvious ways to take care of him given his mental shortcomings.  But George also needs Lennie.  Lennie improves George as a person.  He allows George to be something other than a selfish and aimless person.  He gives George the chance to be something more.  For that reason, he is as important to George as George is to him.

Lennie can't really live without George.  Lennie depends on George more than George does to Lennie.  But, at least George has company.  They probably just grew up with each other and now have to look after each other

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