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What does section one tell us about the characters of George and Lennie and their relationship

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Introduction

What does section one tell us about the characters of George and Lennie and their relationship? In section one Steinbeck introduces us to the two main characters of his book, George and Lennie; we immediately see they are complete opposites, "Behind him walked his opposite". George is the leader of the duo and we can see that he is clearly the one who is in charge, "small and quick, dark of face, with restless eyes and sharp, strong features". This description gives the reader an immediate impression of intelligence and a quick witted personality. George is also small and wiry, "Every part of him was defined". Lennie is described as a lumbering animal, "he walked heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws". Where George is small and sharp featured Lennie is, "a huge man, shapeless of face, with large pale eyes, with wide sloping shoulders." The reader's impression is of a slow witted lumbering oaf. Despite their differences Lennie looks up to George as a model of ideal behaviour "Lennie, who had been watching imitated George ...read more.

Middle

George is also using Lennie as an excuse as to why he hasn't done anything better with his life, "You can't keep a job and you lose me ever' job I get", but the truth is that they need each other. Lennie is a powerful man but hasn't grown up mentally, Steinbeck continually uses animal imagery to describe him, "snorting into the water like a horse", "dabbled his big paw" and "like a terrier who doesn't want to bring a ball". Not knowing his own immense strength Lennie is a constant threat to everything around him and this is clearly illustrated by references to him killing mice, "you've broke it pettin' it" and "she stopped givin' em to ya. You always killed 'em". Despite his animal like innocence, Lennie has also been involved in more serious trouble which has resulted in them having to "sneak out in the dark". George is angry at this constant trouble Lennie causes him, "You crazy son-of-a-bitch. You keep me in hot water all the time". ...read more.

Conclusion

This could link to George and the life he cannot have while he is with Lennie. It also emphasises how important their dream is and to "live off the fatta the lan" and to enjoy the luxuries, "how thick the cream is on the milk you can hardly cut it," This keeps both of them going, giving them a purpose in life and allows them to put up with the discomforts they are having now, to enjoy what they dream of having in the future. Section one gives a clear illustration of the strong bond between Lennie and George, despite the difference in intelligence. They both rely heavily on each other and hold a similar dream which they both enjoy talking about to give their life some purpose. Despite Lennie's immense power he is shown as a vulnerable person who would be unable to cope without the support and friendship of George. In a similar way George needs Lennie to give some purpose to his life, to provide the family and cure the loneliness of his way of life as an itinerant ranch hand. In this section Steinbeck shows how opposites not only attract but thrive off if each other. ...read more.

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