Why does George not want Lennie to talk to their boss when they report for work in the morning?   

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Before George and Lennie meet the boss, George tells Lennie to "jus' stand there and don't say nothing." He explains to Lennie that if he starts talking, the boss will find out that he's "crazy" and then they won't get the jobs on the ranch. Although George appreciates that the boss will hear Lennie talk eventually, he knows that if he sees Lennie work first, then he will be so impressed by Lennie's strength and work ethic that it will make no difference if he then hears Lennie talk afterwards.

The novel is set in the 1930's, and the need to secure a job was especially important at this time. Indeed, because of the Great Depression, jobs were relatively scarce, and this situation was exacerbated by the huge dust storms which destroyed the fertile topsoil of much of the farmland across America. Consequently, many migrant workers, like George and Lennie, travelled to California, where the land was still fertile, in search of work. This meant that more and more workers, like George and Lennie, were competing for fewer and fewer jobs. George is very much aware of this, and so is desperate to secure the jobs on the ranch. He tells Lennie not to speak because he knows that if he does, the boss may think that Lennie is crazy and offer the jobs to some other men. And if this happens, it could be a long time until George and Lennie find employment again.

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George does not want Lennie to speak to their new boss because he fears that Lennie might say something that would jeopardize their jobs. George is also aware that Lennie's mental handicap is obvious and fears that their new boss will get the impression that Lennie is useless and immediately fire them after speaking to him. Lennie has difficulty speaking to others and will surely come across as unintelligent and lost. An intolerant, impatient boss would more than likely fire Lennie on the spot after assuming that he is too stupid to follow directions, complete tasks, or contribute to the farm. The boss could very well view Lennie as useless after speaking to him, which is exactly what George wants to avoid. When the boss does question Lennie, he remains silent and George continually answers for him. George then admits that Lennie is unintelligent but compliments his friend's impressive work ethic and strength. Overall, George fears that the boss will get the wrong impression of Lennie after speaking to him and fire them on the spot.

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George does not want Lennie to talk when they meet the boss because Lennie may say something that may cause them not to get the job.

While they are in the clearing the night before they go to the ranch and their new job, George instructs Lennie to keep quiet when they meet the boss. He tells Lennie that he will give the boss their work tickets, "but you ain't gonna say a word."
George instructs Lennie to just stand there and not say anything when they meet the new boss. "If he finds out what a crazy bastard you are, we won't get no job." However, if they do get on the job, and the boss sees how strong Lennie is and how hard he works before he hears Lennie talk, George feels that they will be "set." That is, the boss will not care that Lennie is slow mentally because he is a virtual work horse.

George has Lennie repeat over and over, "I ain't gonna say nothin'" Also, he has Lennie repeat, "An' you ain't gonna do no bad things like you done in Weed, neither."
"Lennie looked puzzled. 'Like I done in Weed?'"
George cannot believe that Lennie has forgotten. He says that he will not remind him for fear that Lennie will do it again.

Lennie understands and tells George that they were run out of Wood, but George counters, saying they ran on their own: "They was lookin' for us but they didn't catch us." Lennie chuckles and says that he has not forgotten that.

This conversation between Lennie and George hints at what will follow. For, the reader understands that Lennie somehow gets himself into predicaments that cause both men problems.



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