Between the two characters, George would definitely be considered the leader because Lennie is unable to think for himself and make rational decisions. Aside from being Lennie's close friend, George protects Lennie from various characters and negative experiences throughout the novella. Lennie is mentally handicapped, naive, and innocent. He is essentially a helpless character who follows George's every move. George looks after Lennie several ways throughout the novella by telling him to avoid Curley and his wife, and speaks for him whenever Lennie is questioned. George understands Lennie's mental handicap and tries his best portray Lennie as a hard worker who listens to directions. Without George, Lennie would not have survived the incident in Weed, let alone find employment on the ranch in the Salinas Valley. As the story progresses, Lennie cannot avoid trouble, and George makes the moral decision to shoot his helpless friend rather than witness Lennie suffer a brutal death at the hands of a lynch mob.