What keeps George and Lennie together in Of Mice and Men?

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On the face of it, it would appear that these two men ordinarily wouldn't know each other, let alone be such close friends. Apart from their status as itinerant farm laborers, they don't appear to have much in common.

But the truth is that Lennie and George need each other. As Lennie has an intellectual disability, he's vulnerable to exploitation, and he would not be able to make his way in their world on his own. Not only that, but without someone like George around to guide him, he's liable to wind up getting into serious trouble. (He manages to do so even with George around, but that's another story).

As for George, he made Lennie's Aunt Clara a solemn promise that he would always take care of the big guy, and George is nothing if not a man of integrity. Besides, having someone as big and strong as Lennie accompany him on his travels can be useful. It's a hard life being an itinerant farm laborer, traveling around from place to place, bumping into all kinds of unsavory characters along the way, so it pays to have someone by your side with the necessary physical strength to deter anyone from trying to rob or attack you.

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Their mutual dependence on one another is what keeps George and Lennie together. Lennie stays with George because he has no other option. His only family, his aunt, has passed away, and he has the mind of a very young child. He would not be able to survive on his own: it is because of George that he is able to find work, and it is George who ultimately cares for him. George stays with Lennie, I believe, out of a sense of duty and an overwhelming loneliness. George promised Lennie’s aunt that he would look after Lennie, and now he has become so used to being with Lennie that he does not know any other way. Lennie, despite the frustration George feels in taking care of him, is George’s only friend.

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