Of Mice and Men describes the life of a man and his best friend who has the mentality of a child. Their friendship is very strong and this is surprising, “it jus’ seems kinda funny a cuckoo like him and a smart little guy like you travelin’ together”, and this is due to the other characters in the book being implied as very lonely.
Every time George and Lennie obtain a job, Lennie gets in trouble and they are forced to leave. But they hope after all of their intense work that they can finally have their dream and get a place that they can call their own, “we’re gonna have a little house and a couple acres”.George Milton and Lennie Small are the two main characters in the novel. They are like two halves. “The first man was small and quick, dark of face, with restless eyes and sharp strong features.” George is the smaller of the two men but has taken care of Lennie for a while, since Lennie’s Aunt Clara died and this highlights the theme of friendship.
He is the more knowledgeable one.When George tells Slim how he used to play tricks on Lennie, beat him up, and generally abuse him for his own amusement, we get a very different picture of Lennie and George's friendship. George admits one reason why he behaved like that, "made me seem God damn smart alongside of him." “You crazy son-of-a-bitch. You keep me in hot water all the time.” George gets a little irritated with Lennie at times but looks after him no matter what.
George takes very good care of Lennie, but he often feels anger at this burden, an anger that he takes out on Lennie.This fuels Lennie's greatest fear: that he might have to live without George. Their friendship is solid, as George has to watch over him at all times because Lennie is incapable of looking after himself. George is genuinely proud of Lennie and needs him otherwise he would be very lonely.
“Behind him walked his opposite, a huge man, shapeless of face with large pale eyes.” Lennie is a very large man who is describes as having animal-like features. With Georges brain power and Lennie’s strength they become a whole.Lennie has a very short attention span and cannot concentrate on anything for a long length of time. Because of his slow mind Lennie cannot distinguish right from wrong, and doesn’t know anything about the consequences of his actions. Lennie is always reassured everything will be okay.
"We have a dream. Someday, we'll have a little house and a couple of acres. A place to call home." Also we are shown this by George saying "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. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us."When Curley’s wife invites Lennie to stroke her hair, he sees no wrong in this and does so but ends up breaking her neck.
Loneliness is portrayed here, as Lennie has no one to talk to about this and can only turn to his best friend George. Lennie then makes his way back to the river to wait for George to come for him, as he is in trouble, “Lennie - if you jus’ happen to get in trouble like you always done before, I want you to come right here an’ hide in the brush.”Candy’s only friend was his dog, but after the other workers pressure him to let the dog go he is influenced and forced to agree. He is helpless. After the passing of his dog, Candy doesn’t have anything to attach himself to so finds himself getting involved with George and Lennie’s dream, and hopes they can all get a place together. He needs something to hold onto and the dream is all he has got and his savings is what would make the dream possible.
As all the workers know that it was Lennie that killed Curley’s wife, they all set out to kill him. George is being put under a lot of pressure and has to think about whether he is going to bail Lennie out once again. In many ways nearer the end of the book you could say that George does what he does in an act of friendship but in other ways an act of betrayal. George steals Carlson’s gun – a ranch worker and blames it on Lennie. George thinks that if anyone is to kill Lennie it should be him.
George sets out and goes to the river that was the setting at the start of the book. He finds Lennie and reassuringly talks to him about the place they are going to get to their selves when they have enough money. George tells Lennie about the rabbits he is going to be able to have and their couple of acres of ground. Lennie as usual gets excited about this and cannot tell that anything is different.
At this point in time George is still acting as if everything is fine and that their friendship is as strong as ever. George having the gun tries to shoot Lennie many times before he actually does so, “George raised the gun and his hand shook, and he dropped his hand to the round again.” He cannot bring himself to do it as they’ve been friends for so long. Loneliness rules the end of the novel as George had been a character with support throughout the novel but now he has murdered Lennie and therefore he doesn’t have someone he can properly trust. When the workers find George they assume that he got the gun off Lennie and shot him in self-defense so only Slim really knows what has happened.
Slim is the only one that really understands the friendship between George and Lennie and this is significant at the novels ending, “Never you mind. A guy got to sometimes.”