From a technical standpoint, George has to be able to trust someone because his creator John Steinbeck wants to be able to convey information through him to the reader as well as to the audience when the book is turned into a play. Steinbeck called his book "a playable novel."...
From a technical standpoint, George has to be able to trust someone because his creator John Steinbeck wants to be able to convey information through him to the reader as well as to the audience when the book is turned into a play. Steinbeck called his book "a playable novel." It was written in such a way that it could be converted into a script for a stage play with ease. The play was produced on Broadway the same year that the book was published, which was in 1937. In a stage play, with a few exceptions such as Thornton Wilder's Our Town, almost everything has to be done with dialogue. Exposition is communicated to the audience through characters talking to each other. Steinbeck considered it important to describe that incident in Weed. He has George reveal some of it in the opening chapter when George is berating Lennie for molesting that girl. But he can't have George explaining everything to Lennie because, for one thing, there is only so much that Lennie can understand. Slim, on the other hand, is obviously very understanding and sympathetic, so George can tell him more about what happened. For example:
"Well, he seen this girl in a red dress. Dumb bastard like he is, he wants to touch ever'thing he likes. Just wants to feel it. So he reaches out to feel this red dress an' the girl lets out a squawk, and that gets Lennie all mixed up, and he holds on 'cause that's the only thing he can think to do....I was jus' a little bit off, and I heard all the yellin', so I comes running, an' by that time Lennie's so scared all he can think to do is jus' hold on. I socked him over the head with a fence picket to make him let go."
This is a flashback handled through dialogue. Why is the Weed incident so important? Because it was a precedent to what happened with Curley's wife in the barn. Together the two incidents foreshadow the probable future. Lennie doesn't understand his own impulses, and he lies to George consistently. George only knows what Lennie told him. When George sees the body of Curley's wife he will realize that Lennie is changing and that Lennie didn't tell him the whole truth when he said he just wanted to feel that red dress. Lennie is becoming a menace. George can't be with him every minute, and he is losing his control over this big, strong imbecile.
Steinbeck was considered one of the best dialogue writers of his time. Dialogue was Steinbeck's forte. He was compared to Ernest Hemingway, who was a master. Steinbeck's use of dialogue in his best novel, The Grapes of Wrath, is even better than in Of Mice and Men. Dashiell Hammett, a contemporary of those two authors, was also considered an outstanding dialogue writer, as can be seen in his best-known work, The Maltese Falcon.