In Mice and Men what does George say he could do if he were alone?

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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Poor George is conflicted on the idea of life without Lennie in the novel 'Of Mice And Men' by John Steinbeck. Sometimes he resents his dependent needy presence and other times he is grateful for the company. When he says

"Whatever we ain't got, that's what you want. God a'mighty, if I was alone I could live so easy. I could go get a job an' work, an no trouble. No mess at all, and when the end of the month come I could take my fifty bucks and go into town and get whatever I want" (11-12)

he is expressing a sense of frustration with Lennie at that particular moment. Along with his feelings of duty towards the care of Lennie, he is also aware of the risks of that. George knows Lennie is 'different' and he can cope with him as long as things don't change too much,as long as Lennie does what he tells him and sticks to the plan. But George knows they are living in desperate times in a very unforgiving and uneducated social group and it seems as if the risky situations Lennie puts them both in just get too much for him at times. Here we see him wishing for a removal of the anxiety of always having to satisfy Lennie, having to pacify him, to keep him quiet, to keep them both safe. The things he would have if he didn't have this 'burden' would be freedom, independence and a chance to fulfil his own wishes - even if that was just the simple act of spending his wages of a weekend just like the other men. This at least would be 'normality.'


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