How is George a true friend to Lennie in Of Mice and Men?

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Of Mice and Menis mostly about friendship, and there are several moments where George's friendship with Lennie is very prominent. Right at the opening of the story, we learn that George promised Lennie's aunt, Clara, that he would look after Lennie after she passes away. This is indicative...

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Of Mice and Men is mostly about friendship, and there are several moments where George's friendship with Lennie is very prominent. Right at the opening of the story, we learn that George promised Lennie's aunt, Clara, that he would look after Lennie after she passes away. This is indicative of George essentially assuming a responsibility to take care of Lennie. We later learn that George holds Lennie's work papers for him to protect them from being lost, another way George shows he cares for Lennie.

George also acts as a guardian overall to Lennie, sticking with him despite Lennie's frequent troublemaking and various mental challenges. The two cook dinner together and get ready for bed together, chatting with each other along the way. George often tells Lennie stories and cooks his food for him. One could even say that George could be considered a father figure for Lennie, protecting him and providing for him throughout the story.

Lastly, although it seems strange, George believed he was being a good friend by killing Lennie. After Lennie accidentally kills Curley's wife, George knows that the men will be after Lennie and wanting to brutalize him; Lennie would have suffered greatly. George kills him quickly and peacefully.

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George is a true friend of Lennie in many ways throughout the novella Of Mice and Men. George takes care of Lennie and allows him to tag along as he travels the country looking for work. Lennie, who is mentally handicapped, relies on George to find them work, provide food, and protect him throughout the story. Despite the fact that Lennie continually gets into trouble and makes life significantly more difficult, George enjoys his company and companionship. Even though George gets upset with Lennie, he treats him with compassion and eases his mind by telling him stories about their future homestead. When the two men arrive at the ranch, George gives Lennie important advice and warns him to stay away from Curley and his wife. George understands that Curley will antagonize Lennie and goes out of his way to make sure Lennie avoids him. George's most selfless act takes place towards the end of the novella after Lennie accidentally breaks Curley's wife's neck. Knowing that a lynch mob will capture and torture Lennie before killing him, George takes matters into his own hands as he meets up with Lennie on the riverbank. While George tells Lennie a calming story about their future homestead, he shoots Lennie in the back of the head as a mercy killing. George makes sure that Lennie dies a peaceful, painless death at the end of the novella. 

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George is true to Lennie, because he looks out for him and protects him.

George cares for Lennie.  It is unusual for two migrant workers to travel around together.  Yet George looks out for Lennie because Lennie cannot take care of himself.  Lennie is strong and loyal, but not intelligent.  He has the mind of a child, and George has to take care of him.  They have traveled around together for awhile.

George is true to Lennie because he protects him.

Since Lennie does not always make the best choices, George has to tell him what to do.

George unslung his bindle and dropped it gently on the bank. "I ain't sure it's good water," he said. "Looks kinda scummy." (ch 1)

George also protects Lennie from the problems he tends to run into when people don’t understand him.  For example, when he gets run out of town because he touched a girl’s dress, George gets him out safely and gets him a new job.

"…You keep me in hot water all the time."  ... "Jus' wanted to feel that girl's dress- jus' wanted to pet it like it was a mouse- Well, how the hell did she know you jus' wanted to feel her dress?...” (ch 1)

Despite his mimicry, George understands Lennie as no one else does.  He knows Lennie is not trying to hurt anyone, but he just can’t help himse.

George is true to Lennie because he keeps him out of trouble.

Since Lennie is not very smart, he cannot always defend himself.  Physically, he is great in a fight—but that’s part of the problem, because he can hurt people and get into trouble.

The next minute Curley was flopping like a fish on a line, and his closed fist was lost in Lennie's big hand. George ran down the room. "Leggo of him, Lennie. Let go." (ch 4)

When George kills Lennie, he is doing it to protect him.  He knows that Lennie cannot escape this trouble.  They can’t just run this time—he killed a girl!  If Lennie was arrested, or if Curley caught up with him, things would be bad.  As with the puppy, Lennie would not understand what was happening.

"No, Lennie. Look down there acrost the river, like you can almost see the place."

Lennie obeyed him. George looked down at the gun. (ch 6)

George is protecting Lennie by shooting him.  Lennie would probably get the death penalty or be killed by Curley.  It would be a long process, and he would suffer.  This way he doesn’t.

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Of Mice and Men is a book that is largely about friendship. Friendship here is not purely straight-forward or simple, but there are a number of instances where George’s care for Lennie is made very clear.

At the opening of the novel, George and Lennie discuss their shared history and the relationship between the two is revealed. George promised Lennie’s Aunt Clara that he would watch after Lennie after her death.  The fact that George has essentially taken responsibility for Lennie is the largest indication that George really does care about Lennie’s well-being.

One example of the responsibility that George has taken is seen when George reveals the fact that he has held on to Lennie’s work papers so that Lennie wouldn’t lose them.

This conversation further shows how George is a good friend to Lennie as we see how the two prepare dinner and prepare for sleep. George acts as the older brother, or even the father, to Lennie, telling him stories and cooking his food.

Several moments in the novel also show George reassuring Lennie, calming him down and cheering him up.

 

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