When the boss first met George and Lennie, what could describe the boss' reaction?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The reaction of the boss when George and Lennie first meet him was one of frustration.  Candy, the old swamper, had alluded to this in his initial talking to both men even before the boss meets them:  “The boss was expectin’ you last night. He was sore as hell when you wasn’t here to go out this morning.”  This reflects the anger and frustration that the boss holds towards them when he actually does meet them.  The use of procedure helps to emphasize this frustration that he displays towards the two men, especially George:

The boss stepped into the room with the short, quick steps of a fat-legged  man. “I wrote Murray and Ready I wanted two men this morning. You got your  work slips?” George reached into his pocket and produced the slips and handed  them to the boss. “It wasn’t Murray and Ready’s fault. Says right here on the  slip that you was to be here for work this morning.”

The boss expresses frustration at the men not being there when they were supposed to be.  He also expresses anger in a defiant manner, being able to point to the work slip information as a reflection of how the men failed.  This anger underscores his interrogation of George in making the assumption that he is taking advantage of Lennie.  In this initial reaction, Steinbeck is able to illuminate the dynamics between worker and boss in the time period.