Symbiotic Relationship In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

1879 Words8 Pages
In his novella Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck explores camaraderie between two farmhands during the Great Depression in the United States. The novella’s main characters, George Milton and Lennie Small, share a symbiotic relationship that provides each man companionship and strength. As Brian Leahy Doyle explores in his analysis on this subject, Lennie and George’s relationship “is rooted in a life-sustaining symbiosis, and each partner takes on many different roles: George is the mind, the parent, and the controller; Lennie is the body, the child, and the controlled” (Leahy Doyle 84). Lennie’s dependence on George is vital, as it is implied in the novella that Lennie has an intellectual disability and relies on George for survival. On the other hand, George relies on Lennie for his physical size, as well as for a sense of purpose in an otherwise hopeless situation. For both men, their…show more content…
As James D. Hart writes, “Lennie has tremendous strength but a feeble intellect, and possesses a morbid desire to handle soft objects. George compensates for Lennie’s deficiencies by exploiting his strength and cherishing their mutual dream of a small farm of their own” (Hart). Although the relationship between Lennie and George is a relatively simple one, it is significant in determining the course of the novella. The partnership between these men allow them to not only survive, but also have hope in a more significant goal, as “they pursue a vision of the American Dream that is as sweet as it is unattainable” (Leahy Doyle 80). Although Lennie and George’s story ends tragically, their relationship did improve their lives during its tenure. In addition to making it easier to survive in society, their friendship provided them each with companionship and a greater sense of
Open Document