One of the most powerful elements in Steinbeck's novella centers on the idea that shared subjective experiences can provide solidarity between people. For example, part of what causes Crooks the most amount of pain is that he is isolated as a person of color, incapable of forging these shared experiences with anyone. For Lennie and George, the shared experience of hope is what binds them. This hope is what drives the belief that after a certain point, Lennie and George will be able to "get out" of the life of living as bindle stiffs, moving from ranch to ranch. This is the hope that drives both of them. George's hope is that he can own something and be his own boss, while Lennie's hope is to "take care of the rabbits." It is this collective hope that binds them to one another. From the opening chapter all the way through, this vision is what allows both of them to remain in belief of the other. Even at the end, when George has to kill Lennie, this vision of hope becomes more poignant when iti becomes Lennie's last vision.
they are friends and they watch each others backs