• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4
  5. 5
    5
  6. 6
    6
  7. 7
    7
  8. 8
    8
  9. 9
    9
  10. 10
    10
  11. 11
    11
  12. 12
    12
  13. 13
    13

How does John Steinbeck use George as a symbol of good friendship in life? How many people would define friendship as taking the life of someone you love?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Of Mice and Men How does John Steinbeck use George as a symbol of good friendship in life? How many people would define friendship as taking the life of someone you love? Webster defines friendship as "a person whom one knows, likes and trusts. "Steinbeck shows us both through his characterization of George in Of Mice and Men. Throughout the novel George's role as Lennie's friend constantly changes. At times he is the teacher or protector. At other times he is the dependable companion who stays with Lennie through whatever trouble, or maybe because of the trouble, Lennie gets into. "Here in the simplest possible terms Steinbeck offers a voluntary acceptance of responsibilities. It reminds us again that man owes something to man"(Unger 57).George takes on the responsibility of watching over Lennie because of a promise he makes to Lennie's aunt as she is dying. George's life revolves around Lennie and his actions. He gives up his independence and any chance he might have had to live a normal life. Steinbeck describes Lennie's emotional mental and physical state being totally opposite of one another. " a huge man, shapeless of face, with large, pale eyes, with wide sloping shoulders; and he walked heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drapes his paws. His arms did not swing at his sides, but hung loosely".(Steinbeck 2) Despite his size and animal-like strength he is totally helpless and dependent on George. George takes on the role of teacher in several parts of the novel. "Lennie!" he said sharply. "Lennie, for God sakes don't drink so much!"(Steinbeck 3). In this scene both are very thirsty from walking so far. Lennie falls to his knees and drinks out of the lake carelessly. If George didn't tell Lennie not to drink so much, Lennie would have kept on drinking until he threw up. At the time he also has to teach Lennie about not drinking stagnant water when he says, "You never oughta drink water when it ain't running."(Steinbeck, 5). ...read more.

Middle

The relationship between Candy and his dog parallels that which exists between George and Lennie. To the men who live in the bunkhouse, Candy's dog is nothing more than a "dragfooted sheep dog, gray of muzzle,...with pale, blind old eyes," (p. 24) but Candy sees him as a companion. To George, Lennie is more than a "big guy" (p. 25) who can't speak for himself. On the ranch Lennie is suspected to be of no value because of his lack of intelligence, and Candy's dog is thought to be of no importance because he has no teeth, can hardly see and can't eat. The dog is "no good to [Candy]" (p. 44) and he is "no good to himself" (p. 44). After Lennie kills Curley's wife, he's no good to George or himself. Carlson's luger, which is used to shoot Candy's dog in the back of the head, is also used by George to shoot Lennie in the back of the head. Slim had said earlier that he wished "somebody'd shoot [him] if [he] got old an' a cripple" (p. 45) and he also acknowledges that George has to shoot Lennie, telling him that he "hadda" (p.107). Both Candy's dog and Lennie are killed out of love. Candy feels that his dog no longer needs to suffer and George never wants Lennie to suffer for a crime he did not mean to commit. The parallels that exist between the outcasts and Lennie emphasize the harsh pain of loneliness. Crooks tries to shut out another outcast, telling Lennie that "[he] ain't wated in the bunkhouse and [Lennie] ain't wanted in [his] room" (p. 68). Curley's wife, an outcast herself, sees Crooks, Lennie, and Candy as "a nigger an' a dum-dum and a lousy ol' sheep" (p. 78), but she is not even wanted there with them. All the outcasts have been left at the ranch while the other go into town. ...read more.

Conclusion

He needs someone, someone to talk with, a friend. After Lennie explains his dream to Crooks, he says he would work free. Later he decides that he does not want to face rejection. "I don't wanna go to no place like that. I'd never wanna go to a place like that" Crooks is also a proud man, sometimes causing him to forget his lack of authority of the ranch. Crooks grew up on a farm owned by his father where he was respected as an equal to the white men. Now on this ranch on California he is discriminated against and segregated. His pride is shown when he defends Lennie against Curley's wife, but when she lashed out at him, he knows he must back down or face the consequences. Those consequences would probably be being lynched. Inside he knows he is equal to every other man on the ranch, but if he expressed these thoughts he would probably be forced out of the farm, or even worse possibly. Crooks is a bright man. He knows his rights, but he also knows that being a black man in California his rights didn't mean anything if he made a mistake and crossed his boundaries. A third characteristic of Crooks is intelligence. Crooks, unlike the other men, reads books. He grew up as a free man, an equal to the whites. While he is not a slave on the ranch, he certainly was not treated fairly. His knowledge only adds to his anger and loneliness that he feels because he knows what it could be like, he knows that this is not right. By reading, Crooks occupies his time and gains knowledge, but being with another human being on the ranch would be much more important to him than any book he could ever read. When Lennie comes into his room, Crooks knows exactly what to say to make Lennie upset. However, he was kind and stopped saying that George would not return when he realized Lennie was genuinely upset. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE John Steinbeck section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE John Steinbeck essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    How does Steinbeck present ...

    5 star(s)

    'He had pain tightened lips' and 'in one hand he held a bottle of liniment and with the other he rubbed his spine'. Another example of Crooks pain is ' he flexed his muscles against his back and shivered. As Crooks has been so beaten down by loneliness and prejudicial treatment, he is now suspicious of any kindness he receives.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Relationship between George and Lennie in Of Mice of Men

    4 star(s)

    In fact, George's belief in it depends upon Lennie, for as soon as Lennie dies, George's hope for a brighter future disappears.Their vision becomes so powerful that it will eventually attract other men, who will beg to be a part of it.

  1. How Does Steinbeck Show The Importance Of Friendship In The Novel

    But not us. 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."(p.13-14) Because of the extent of Lennie and George's friendship, they go beyond the mere sharing of words.

  2. "Hopes and Dreams Help People to Survive, Even if they can Never Become Real"How ...

    It is important for George that he continues his friendship with Lennie partly for companionship and party for more selfish reasons that Lennie is able to protect George and makes him feel and seem more intelligent. The dream is important to Lennie for similar reasons to why it is important to George.

  1. How does Steinbeck present and develop Lennie in Of Mice and Men

    There is almost juxtaposition between Lennie's and George's descriptions. Lennie is big and clumsy; George is small and cautious. Steinbeck presents Lennie and George's relationship as a father-son relationship, with George being the father and Lennie being son. In the novella, Steinbeck not only describes Lennie as an animal but as a child also.

  2. How does Steinbeck make Lennie a sympathetic character?

    that he could survive living on his own shows what a sadly hopeless character he is, 'if you don't want me, you only jus' got to say so, and I'll go off in those hills right there - and live by myself'.

  1. Why did George kill Lennie?

    Lennie always got him into trouble and if George hadn't killed him, the other people who knew him and were angry with him would have done it. Carlson wanted to shoot him in the guts, which would be really painful, but George wanted to shoot him in the head so he died quicker and kinder.

  2. How does Steinbeck present the relationship between George and Lennie in

    This is because they have left their previous jobs in a hurry. The reason why they left is because of the following charge of attempted rape against Lennie. In the beginning of the novel John Steinbeck raises various questions in mind.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work