George and Lennie Relationship

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The Historical Fiction novel “Of Mice and Men”, by John Steinbeck is about the journey of two friends George Milton and Lennie Small. The book takes place a few miles south of Soledad at the Salinas River. George and Lennie go to work on a ranch during the Great Depression. Throughout the book, one is able to tell that George and Lennie have a strong friendship. Their relationship is very much like a father son relationship. Where George is the dad and makes a lot of decisions for Lennie, the son. The bond that George and Lennie have is only separable by death. The novel explores the connection between George and Lennie in depth. Readers are able to see that friendship can help one throughout life, whether in good times or in bad. Outcomes of a good friendship are, people become reliant on others, people are very loyal to each other, and sometimes in order to help others, one may have to make a crucial decision for someone else.

One outcome of friendship is that individuals can rely on each other. Lennie and George rely on each other a lot, “Lennie broke in. ‘But not us! An’ why? Because… because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s why, (Steinbeck 15.)’” Though, Lennie and George rely on each other for different reasons. George relies on Lennie for companionship. George would be lonely without Lennie. Lennie relies on George physically and mentally, he would have a hard time if he didn’t have George watching his back. Lennie is constantly getting them into trouble, but doesn’t realise what he is doing until it is too late. However, George can usually get them out of the situation by hiding and running away. If George wasn’t there for Lennie, then Lennie would be in jail for something that he doesn’t understand was bad.

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The TED Talk, about “What makes a good life?” by Robert Waldinger outlines the importance of good healthy relationships. “And we know that you can be lonely in a crowd and you can be lonely in a marriage, so the second big lesson that we learned is that it's not just the number of friends you have, and it's not whether or not you're in a committed relationship, but it's the quality of your close relationships that matters. It turns out that living in the midst of conflict is really bad for our health (Robert Waldinger).” An individual must rely on others, to strengthen their relationships, which will help ones’ health and give emotional stability. George and Lennie are great friends and have an amazing relationship. Even though George says how his life would be great if Lennie wasn’t there, he would be lonely without him. He might become an alcoholic or become emotionally unstable. George would be sad if he didn’t have Lennie to talk to or hangout with. When people rely on each other, both people benefit. The health of the people in the relationship increase, which includes their mental health.

Friendships can help one become more loyal to a certain person or group of people. George and Lennie are very loyal to each other all throughout the book. “‘He’s sure a hell of a good worker. Strong as a bull (Steinbeck 22).’” George is loyal to Lennie by standing up to the boss and defending him. George didn’t have to defend Lennie, he could have just let Lennie do his own thing. Lennie might not have gotten the job, and then George wouldn’t have to be with Lennie ever again. George stood up for Lennie though, he said why the boss needed Lennie even if he has intellectual problems. Another example is, “Lennie struggled to understand. ‘George won’t do nothing like that,’ he repeated. ‘George is careful. He won’t get hurt. He ain’t never been hurt,’cause he’s careful (Steinbeck 84).’” Lennie is being loyal to George, by telling Crooks that George is very careful and would never abandon Lennie. Lennie started to panic thinking about George getting hurt and leaving him, and the only thing that helped that was telling himself and Crooks that George is a good guy, he is cautious and loving. When George and Lennie stood up for each other, they are growing their loyalty. They did not have to stand up and defend each other, but they did. It is important to be loyal to someone, because in the long run, you want to have allies on your side.

Finally, sometimes a person has to hurt someone else in order to help them. “Candy said, ‘George.’ ‘Huh?’ ‘I ought to of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn’t ought to of let no stranger shoot my dog (Steinbeck 60).” Candy regrets letting Carlson shoot his dog, instead of shooting his dog himself. When Candy tells George about wishing he would have killed his dog himself, this allows George to make the right decision later on in the book. So, by Carlson killing Candy’s dog, it allows George to make the right decision to kill Lennie out of love and sympathy instead of him being killed out of hatred and disgust. Another example of this is, “And George raised the gun and steadied it, and he brought the muzzle of it close to the back of Lennie’s head. The hand shook violently, but his face set and his hand steadied. He pulled the trigger (Steinbeck 103,104).” George knew that if he didn’t kill Lennie, then he would be hurting him even more. Lennie would have suffered more pain, sorrow, and guilt if George didn’t kill him. The whole ranch went out to look for Lennie. Lennie would have been lynched if George hadn’t killed him. Even though friendship helps people get through life in bad times, George only had one way of helping Lennie, which was to kill him. Sometimes people have to do what they think is best for the person they are trying to protect.

Friendship is essential, because friends help you all throughout your life. You can rely on each other for different reasons, emotionally, or physically. You become more loyal to each other by standing up and defending each other. Sometimes you have to do a difficult thing to or for them in order to help them or their situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does George explain his relationship with Lennie?

George explains his relationship with Lennie as that of a protector. He often calls Lennie his “protégé,” and takes care of him as if he were a younger brother. Despite their often tumultuous relationship, George does care deeply for Lennie and is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure his safety and well-being. He understands that it is his responsibility to look after Lennie, and he does so with devotion and love.

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George and Lennie Relationship. (2021, July 19). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 22, 2024, from
“George and Lennie Relationship.” Edubirdie, 19 Jul. 2021,
George and Lennie Relationship. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Jul. 2024].
George and Lennie Relationship [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Jul 19 [cited 2024 Jul 22]. Available from:

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