In Section 2, why does the boss think that George and Lennie's relationship is unusual?

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cldbentley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the second section of Of Mice and Men, a literary classic written by John Steinbeck, George and Lennie arrive at a ranch for work.  George and Lennie travel and live together, since Lennie has the mental of a small child and is unable to care for himself.  Because Lennie has gotten himself in trouble at previous job sites and the two men have had to leave quickly in order to avoid serious repercussions (legal, etc.), George orders Lennie to remain silent when they meet their new boss.

The new boss, who is "a pretty nice fella," is unaware of the truth of Lennie's past and knows only what George tells him.  Because George does not allow Lennie to speak, the boss becomes suspicious of George's motives and questions George openly. 

..."Say--what you sellin'?"


"I said what stake you got in this guy?  You takin' his pay away from him?"

"No, 'course I ain't.  Why ya think I'm sellin' him out?"

"Well, I never seen one guy take so much trouble for another guy.  I just like to know what your interest is."

Once George tells the boss that Lennie "was kicked in the head by a horse when he was a kid" and is his cousin, the boss becomes more sympathetic to George's control of the situation.  He no longer believes that it is especially strange for George to go to so much effort to help Lennie.