One way George acts in a parental role toward Lennie is by trying to steer his tendencies that might cause trouble in a more positive direction. Lennie is fond of petting small, soft animals, and he often unintentionally kills them. George knows that Lennie's intentions are innocent and that he doesn't fully understand limits. So George always keeps his eye out for these areas of difficulty and tries to steer Lennie away from such behaviors:
George looked sharply at him. “What’d you take outa that pocket?”
“Ain’t a thing in my pocket,” Lennie said cleverly.
“I know there ain’t. You got it in your hand. What you got in your hand—hidin’ it?”
“I ain’t got nothin’, George. Honest.”
“Come on, give it here.”
Lennie held his closed hand away from George’s direction. “It’s on’y a mouse, George.”
“A mouse? A live mouse?”
“Uh-uh. Jus’ a dead mouse, George. I didn’t kill it. Honest! I found it. I found it dead.”
“Give it here!” said George.
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