What are some quotes from chapters 1 and 3 that have to do with George and Lennie's relaitionship in John Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men. If possible could you plase explain what these quotes show about their relaitionship

In Of Mice and Men, Chapter I, George warns Lennie not to drink from a puddle or pool that may be stagnant. He also scolds Lennie for picking up a mouse when the two are gathering willow sticks. In this instance, George is annoyed because he has to walk so far with only one companion. In chapter III, George defends Lennie as a younger brother would defend his older brother. George tells Slim in chapter III that Lennie is not crazy, just slow. He says that he promised his aunt to care for Lennie and keep him out of trouble.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

As the exposition of Of Mice and Men, Chapter I introduces the reader to the dynamics of the relationship of Lennie Small and George Milton. Clearly, George is in charge of situations and is the decision maker.  For instance, he scolds Lennie about drinking out of the green pool that may not be fresh. Also, he chides Lennie for hiding a mouse in his pocket, and cautions,

"O.K. now when we go in to see the boss, what you gonna do?"

"I....I," Lennie thought.  His face grew tight with thought.  "I...ain't gonna say nothin'.  Jus' gonna stan' there."

"O.K.," said George.  "An' you ain't gonna do no bad things like you done in Weed, neither."

Here George refers to an incident to which he later alludes.  As they gather willow sticks for a fire, Lennie declares, "I like beans with ketchup."  George, tense from having to walk so far from where the bus has stopped, explodes, "Well, we ain't got any."  After having had to scold Lennie for catching another mouse, George is tense and speaks sharply to Lennie,

"...Whatever we ain't got, that's what you want.  God a'mighty, if I was alone I could live so easy.  I could go get a job an'work, an' no trouble.  No mess at all, and when the end of the month come I could take my fifty bucks and go into town and get whatever I want....I could eat any place .....Get a gallon of whisky....An; whatta I got, " George went on furiously. "I got you!  you can't keep a job and you lose me ever'job I get.  Jus' keep me shovin' all over the country all the time....An' that ain't the worst.  You get in trouble.  you do bad things and I got to get you out."

George makes his voice high-pitched as he repeats Lennie's words, "Jus-wanted to feel that girl's dress.  But, when he looks at Lennie's pitifully anguished face, George is ashamed.  Then Lennie tells George that he can go off somewhere.   When George asks him where he would go, Lennie says,

"Some place I'd find a cave....An' if I foun' a mouse, I could keep it.  Nobody'd take it away from me."

George looks inquisitively and guiltily at Lennie, "I been mean, ain't I?" 

Like an older brother and a younger one who argue, George and Lennie settle their little differences as the childlike Lennie requests that George recite the mantra of their dream.  Afterwards, George cautions Lennie,

"...if you jus' happen to get in trouble like you always done before, I want you to come right here and hide in the brush."

This older/younger brother-like relationship is displayed in Chapter III, as with a fraternal pride George boasts that Lennie can do anything that he is told:  "He can't think of nothing to do himself, but he sure can take orders." When Slim remarks that it is odd that "a cuckoo" like Lennie travels with George, George defends Lennie, as a big brother would:  "He ain't no cuckoo,...he's dumb as hell, but he ain't crazy.  I ain't so bright neither...."  He then explains to Slim that he has promised Lennie's aunt to care for him.  George explains to Slim that he used to tease Lennie, but he stopped because once he almost killed Lennie by telling him to jump into the water.

Summing up the relationship, George points to its value in a time when men are disfranchised,

I ain't got not people...I seen the guys that go around on the ranches alone. After a long time they get mean.  They get wantin' to fight all the time."

"'Course Lennie 's a ...nuisance most of the time..But you get used to going' around with a guy an' you

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team