Why do George and Lennie run away from Weed in Of Mice and Men?

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George and Lennie have to flee Weed after Lennie touches a girl's dress, which he is attracted to because it looks soft and he likes to touch soft things. The girl became worried that Lennie was trying to rape her, and so the townspeople formed a posse trying to catch Lennie and lynch him.


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William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Weed was actually named after a man named Weed. It is still a very small town in a mountainous, heavily forested region, with a population of just under 3,000 by the last census. It would have been smaller in 1937. It is located just below the Oregon border. It was an unlikely place for George and Lennie to be working, but Steinbeck wanted to put it as far away as possible because he didn’t want anyone around Salinas to have heard the real truth about the incident. That real truth was probably that Lennie attacked a very young girl without really understanding what his sexual motivation was. Something similar happened with the idiot Benjy in William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. Jason had to have Benjy castrated. The girl Lennie molested started screaming and attracted a mob of local men who intended to lynch both Lennie and George. George was not present when Lennie molested the girl. They were immediately on the run, so George only got the story from Lennie--and Lennie shows in Chapter One that he lies to George all the time. Furthermore, Lennie didn't understand his own motives because (1) he is mentally retarded, (2) his sex drive is new to him. When George sees the dead body of Curley's wife, he will understand what was really happening in Weed. Lennie didn't just want to feel the dress. He might have torn the dress right off the girl if George hadn't intervened.

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In the novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, the part of the plot where George and Lennie run away from Weed is very important. This is because it shows the beginning or continuation of a behavioral pattern. It also shows that George is beginning to cotton on to that fact and that it is beginning to cause him anxiety. Indeed, the lines "All the time somethin like that, all the time." are foreshadowing the events that are to come. George does his best to shelter himself and Lennie from the consequences of the unusual behavior, but will soon realise that they are going to occur again and again, over and over, becuase...

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hakbar | Student

The two men were forced to run away because Lennie, who likes to touch soft things, sees a red dress that he begins to touch. His touch becomes aggressive and is mistaken for a possible rape attempt. George helps Lennie escape because he had promised Lennie's aunt Clara he would take care of Lennie when she passed. George feels responsible for Lennie and knows he wouldn't hurt anybody because Lennie has a mental disability. Therefore they leave Weed and find a job in another town at a ranch where Lennie gets into trouble agian and George is forced to take care of him once more.

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