What are some key characteristics of George from Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men?

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George's most redeeming qualities from Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men is that he is loyal, humble, and seeks to do what is best for himself and Lennie. George explains his situation with Lennie to Slim as follows:

"Him and me was both born in Auburn. I knowed his Aunt Clara. She took him when he was a baby and raised him up. When his Aunt Clara died, Lennie just come along with me out workin'. Got kinda used to each other after a little while" (40).

George also mentions to Lennie that he promised Clara to take care him after she died. The fact that George has kept his promise all of these years proves that he is loyal to Clara and Lennie.

Next, George is humble because he openly admits to Slim that he was cruel to Lennie when they were younger. Then, when George discovered that Lennie was too slow to understand that he was being teased, he stopped and never teased Lennie again. George is also humble when he says the following:

"An' I ain't so bright neither, or I wouldn't be buckin' barley for my fifty and found. If I was bright, if I was even a little bit smart, I'd have my own little place, an' I'd be bringin' in my own crops, 'stead of doin' all the work and not getting what comes up outa the ground" (39).

Most of the reason George doesn't have his own place is that he looks after Lennie and can't stay in one place long enough to save enough money. Notice, however, that he doesn't blame Lennie for that. George has actually grown used to having a companion in Lennie, which makes their hard-working life a little easier to deal with. Even though George has a foul mouth, yells at Lennie a lot, and seems to become annoyed easily, he does his best to keep his nose in his own business. He isn't one to cause problems just to watch the drama unfold. He doesn't he seek to hurt other people, either. He's just a migrant worker looking for an opportunity to realize his own American dream by owning his own farm one day and keeping his promises.

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George is the smaller of the two men, while Lenny is large and strong, George is small and spry.  As Lenny's protector, as he promised his aunt, George is the smarter and does the thinking for the duo. George takes good care of Lenny, looking out for him and talking with him all the time about the farm that he hopes to own.  

George idealistically believes that he and Lenny can one day own the farm.  He is a gruff, coarse man who seems to do nothing but yell at Lenny, but he really loves him.  He is always lecturing Lenny on being good and not doing anything wrong.

In the end, George makes a great sacrifice for his beloved friend Lenny, showing his compassionate and loving nature.   

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