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Of Mice and Men George

Updated on June 19, 2011

Of Mice and Men -George

This is a lens on the character of George, summarising and analysing how it changes throughout the novella. It contains key quotes which portray different aspects of George's character. It is common in most GCSE Literature past papers to include character questions. This is only to give you ideas of what you can write, so please do not copy and use all of it in school essays.


About him:

George is a migrant worker who is defined as a small, quick man with well-defined features. He travels around with his mentally impaired friend Lennie. They both dream of earning enough money to buy a small farm on which they can live and belong to. Due to his mental superiority, George assumes authority over Lennie, acting as a parental figure, one who shows compassion and care. Because Lennie often gets George into difficult situations, George has to be responsible, rational and ready to deal with any problems that could occur. Despite the many problems that Lennie causes George, he stays alongside him to prevent living with the loneliness that all the other itinerant workers endure in the American society. He holds on to the hope that they will eventually leave the directionless life of a migrant worker to live a more fulfilling one.

Key Quotes:

“God a'mighty, if I was alone I could live so easy. I could go get a job an' work, an no trouble... An' that ain't the worst. You get in trouble. You do bad things and I got to get you out” (11-12)

This quote shows how much of a hindrance Lennie is for George, he explains that without the burden of looking after Lennie, George could be living a simple easy life, earning money on ranches. It also shows George’s anger at Lennie for always getting them both into trouble because of the way the Lennie is oblivious to the rules of society. This quote is evidence for Lennie being more of a responsibility for George rather than a friend.

“Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place... With us it ain’t like that. We got a future” (13-14)

In this part George is explaining to Lennie their friendship, and their plans to succeed in life. He says that the fact that they travel together and that they hold on to the hope of having their own place, sets them aside from the ordinary migrant workers, who face lives of isolation. The quote underlines the sense of comradeship that George and Lennie share, the speech (which he repeats towards the end of the novella) describes how they rely on each other, too look out for one another and bet there for each other.

"You never had none, you crazy b*stard. I got both of ‘em here. Think I’d let you carry your own work card?" (22-24)

This quote shows how George acts as a parental figure for Lennie; George must look after Lennie’s important possessions, as George knows that he will just lost them because of his simple-mindedness. The quote also shows George’s frustration with Lennie’s small mental capacity as he is always creating problems.

"Well, I never seen one guy take so much trouble for another guy. I just like to know what your interest is" (25)

Said by the boss to George, we see how George and Lennie’s relationship is unusual in the society they live in. Migrant workers usually live lonely lives, but George and Lennie go around looking for work together. This is so unusual that the ranch boss treats this with suspicion, accusing George of taking advantage of Lennie.

“I seen the guys that go around on the ranches alone... After a long time they get mean. They get wantin' to fight all the time. . . 'Course Lennie's a God damn nuisance most of the time, but you get used to goin' around with a guy an' you can't get rid of him." (45)

This quote shows how George wants to stay with Lennie in order to prevent him living alone. He has seen other lonely, migrant workers show aggressive and ‘mean’ attitudes, which he wants to avoid. He says how annoying Lennie can be sometimes but he has grown too fond of being around with him, he finds it hard to part with him. The friendship of George and Lennie is based on mutual dependence.

"I think I knowed from the very first. I think I knowed we'd never do her. He usta like to hear about it so much I got to thinking maybe we would” (103)

Here we see that George was aware from the very start that with Lennie, it was impossible for the dream to work. It seems as though the dream of earning the farm was just to act as a reason for the two to stick together. The dream was the driving force between George and Lennie’s relationship, it let them believe that they were special and they could achieve much. It shows that because George has been pretending so long, he himself had come to believe that maybe the dream was feasible and could be done.

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John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men summary

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