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Why is the concept of friendship significant in "Of Mice and Men"? (40)

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Introduction

Why is the concept of friendship significant in the novel? (40) The novel Of Mice and Men presents the idea of the ?American Dream?, in which America is in a period of economic depression, resulting in people such as George and Lennie travelling around looking for work in order to survive. The theme of friendship is especially significant in the novel as the story is set in the time where everyone struggled for themselves; the environment of America in depression was hostile, and the social situation reflected upon this hostility. The opening of the novel presents two characters, with completely contrasting characteristics which represent the flawed nature of humans, in which the two characters are juxtaposed in order to compromise for each other?s flaws; George is the weaker of the two characters, albeit smarter, while Lennie demonstrates an amazing level of strength, although his mental capacity is extremely limited and has a child-like nature. The concept of friendship between George and Lennie is significant in the opening of the text as it shows how with friendship, it is possible to make up for flaws by relying on each other, in a time where the typical man would work for his own benefit, in order to make his own profit and live by himself. This viewpoint of all other people can be first seen by when George accuses the bus driver of making them walk a lot longer than necessary, where George angrily resents the bus driver, saying ?We could just as well?if ...read more.

Middle

However, the concept of friendship is shown to be significant as George eventually stands up for Lennie against the boss, and answering for Lennie when he is intimidated by the boss: ?Listen, Small! ... Then why won?t you let him answer? What you trying to put over?? Friendship is significant in this novel as George and Lennie are able to maintain a close relationship, even though friendship is unknown to most people in society, evident by the boss stating that ?I never seen one guy take so much trouble for another guy?. The theme of friendship is constantly contrasted with the hostility of society in the novel, and hostility can be seen when the boss answers with ?Don?t you try to put nothing over?I got my eye on you?, also linking back to the distrust that existed in society during the depression era, when people resorted to fending for themselves, rather than putting their trust in anyone else. The friendship between George and Lennie is extremely significant as it shows the small existence of friendship in a world where friendship is non-existent, and from the existence of their small friendship they are able to persevere. It is apparent that people in the society described by the novel treat each other with disregard and suspicion, as shown by the casual reference to the fight between the stable buck and another ranch hand: ?If he coulda used his feet, Smitty says he woulda killed the nigger? The casual approach to violence despite the fact that it could end another?s life shows the lack of trust, as well as the lack of care that people faced. ...read more.

Conclusion

travel around together?, showing the lack of friendship. Slim eventually gives further evidence for this, saying that it is ?funny how you an? him string along together?, when the people ?never seem to give a damn about nobody?, and especially when Lennie?s mental capacity is limited yet George insists on travelling with him: ?It jus? seems kinda funny a cuckoo like him and a smart little guy like you travelin? together?, once again emphasising the significance of George and Lennie?s unique friendship. The unfriendliness in society can be seen building up into physical violence, represented by the fight between Curley and Lennie. Curley, who attempts to intimidate Lennie and eventually results in physically attacking him: ?Curley?slashed at Lennie?blood welled from his nose?George?make ?um leave me alone, George? Another contrast between friendship and lack of friendship is made; Lennie is seen to rely on George in order to help him while Curley is left alone to defend for himself, and this is significant as it proves how their friendship will eventually help them in their struggles. George and Lennie share a unique friendship in which they make up for each other?s flaws. George is presented as the cleverer of the two, while Lennie is presented as the stronger of the two. Despite the hostile society of depression era America, the friendship between the two characters is significant as it is a rarity for two people to be able to continue a friendship in a harsh time period where people were left to fend for themselves, and often had no family to accompany them. ...read more.

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