In Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men when Lennie and George are first described, how is this intial description fitting when we find more about each man?

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Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, readers first view George as a normal sized man, and Lennie as a large man.  We get the idea that George is somewhat of a leader--at least concerning their relationship--and Lennie is a follower.  We also notice that Lennie is challenged:  he won't quit talking about how he likes his beans, and he tries to find and retrieve the dead mouse--so he can pet it.  He's smart enough to devise a plan for getting the mouse back, but George knows him so well that he doesn't get away with it.  This demonstrates the nature of their relationship, also--they've obviously been together long enough for George to know Lennie's tricks.

All of the above description and characterization is developed throughout the rest of the novel.  George is Lennie's voice, he does Lennie's thinking for him, and he tries to take care of him and keep him out of trouble.  Lennie's stature and strength are certainly not exaggerated in the opening scenes, as we read when he finally fights back--only after his leader, George, orders him to--against Curly.  And his obsession with petting soft things dominates his thoughts and actions throughout the novel.  Finally, if anything, their relationship grows stronger after the initial scene.  George's putting Lennie out of his misery, so to speak, his sparing him from the meanness and wrath of Curly, creates a poignant scene that again demonstrates the strength of their relationship. 

The early description of George and Lennie is certainly "fitting" later in the work.  The novel develops what is started in the early part of the novel.

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Of Mice and Men

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