George And Lennie In Of Mice And Men

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Of Mice and Men is a novella by John Steinbeck, published in 1937. It is set in the Salinas Valley in California during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Two migrant workers, George Milton and Lennie Small, have a work contract at a local ranch so that they one day might purchase property of their own; however, due to Lennie’s childlike mental state the goal seems far-fetched. In his poem, ‘To a Mouse’, which is also the source of the novella’s title, Robert Burns wrote, “The best laid schemes of mice and men / Go often askew,” which can be compared to George’s goals of achieving the elusive American Dream together with Lennie, but as the poem also suggests this will go askew, and this is Lennie’s fault. Therefore, why does George not get rid of Lennie, when Lennie even offers to “(…) go off in the hills an’ find a cave.” (OMM, 14), and pursue the dream himself? Is George too compassionate of a person to leave Lennie, or is George simply using him for his own good? The following paper will discuss these questions by characterizing George and looking into his relationship with Lennie.
There is often a hidden meaning behind the names of characters in novels;
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Perhaps George got tired of Lennie and took his life out of anger as his job and dream of sharing a farm with Lennie became impossible, or maybe George had had enough and killed Lennie because “(…) he [Lennie] gets in trouble alla time because he’s so God damn dumb.” (OMM, 42). On the contrary, after Lennie had killed Curley’s wife George knew what Curley’s lynch mob would come for Lennie and make his death painful by “(…) shoot[ing] the guts outa that big bastard” (OMM, 96-97). George simply helped Lennie the only way he knew how, by taking his life quickly after telling him what he wanted to
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