What keeps George and Lennie together?

Expert Answers
kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

George and Lennie’s relationship is a complex one. For Lennie, it is all he has known since being brought up by his Aunt Clara. He makes a veiled threat to George at the beginning of the novel that he can live alone-

“If you don’ want me I can go off in the hills an’ find a cave. I can go away any time.”

However both George and the reader know that Lennie would not survive. George feels responsible for Lennie, and in a way is making up for the mean things he did to him as a child – like making him jump in to a river when he couldn’t swim. However, Lennie also gives George great comfort as his love for his friend is unconditional. Lennie is an honest companion: he brings out the paternal side in George -

I wisht I could put you in a cage with about a million mice an’ let you have fun.”His anger left him suddenly.

 George would like to achieve their dream of the “little place” where they could live peaceably. He talks of the wild life of the other men, drinking and visiting brothels, but this is not what he really wants to do. He wants a calm life where he is secure and loved. Sadly this is too much to expect in the time and place which George and Lennie live-

 “With  us  it  ain’t like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. We don’t have to sit-in no bar room blowin’ in our jack jus’ because we got no place else to go. If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us.” Lennie broke in. “But not us! An’ why? Because . . . . because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s why.”

sarastamey | Student

George and Lennie had a very interesting and complicated relationship. They were friends but George treated Lennie terribly sometimes. And the reason they were together in the beginning was because Lennie's Aunt Clara asked George to look after Lennie. But honestly, I think that by the end of the novel the men actually really need each other to stay down to earth.