George Milton and Lennie Small are two "bindle stiffs" who travel together more out of the need for one another than anything else. Nevertheless, there is a bond that has formed between them which extends beyond the physical necessities of protection and care.
- Often in anger George speaks of how he could get along so much better without Lennie,
"...you're a lot of trouble....I could get along so easy and so nice if I didn't have you on my tail....If I was alone I could live so easy and maybe have a girl."
- He complains to Lennie that he always causes trouble, ..."You keep me in hot water all the time." Then, he tells Lennie that he wishes he could put him in a cage sometimes.
- In Chapter 3, George relates to Slim how trusting Lennie is and what fun he used to have with Lennie, playing jokes on him
"'cause he was too dumb to take care of 'imself....he'd do any...thing I tol'him. If I tol'him to walk over a cliff, over he'd go."
- For Lennie's sake more than his own at first, George recites the words that describe their dream of owning property and raising rabbits.
- George instructs and advises Lennie because he knows that Lennie is of a diminished mental capacity.
- He tells George to come and hide in the bushes of the clearing if anything goes wrong.
- George stops taking advantage of Lennie's trust after Lennie almost drowns.
- He speaks well of Lennie to Slim, saying he is used to going around with him, an indirect way of speaking of their friendship. He tells others that he and Lennie are "rollin' up a stake" together--they are saving money together.
- When Curley and Curley's wife make their respective appearances in the bunkhouse, George cautions Lennie to avoid them, saying Curley's wife is "jailbait" who is going to "make a mess," and he warns Lennie to "keep out of it" if there is any fighting with Curley.
- When Curley beats Lennie in the face, Lennie grabs his hand, crushing it. George "slapped him in the face again and again" to try to get Lennie to release Curley's hand before it is destroyed.
- George recites the dream almost any time Lennie requests.
- He asks Slim about Lennie's owning one of the puppies that Slim's dog has had.
- George cautions Lennie about going to the barn too often to pet the puppy lest it die, and to avoid Crooks.
- After Lennie inadvertently kills Curley's wife, George prevents Lennie from being captured by the others and possibly shot by Carlson or Curley or institutionalized. [Depending on the reader's interpretation, this act could be considered wrongful, rather than good.]