The relationship between Lennie and George is very complex and changes greatly throughout Of Mice and Men. George throughout the novel struggles with his feelings for Lennie as they change greatly from event to event as George tries to think of ways to deal with Lennie. However, Lennie’s character seems to be the least prone to change showing little diversion either in personality or in thoughts and feelings.
Their friendship transforms through the novel because of the fact that George is holding onto Lennie not becuase he wants to care for him but becuase he needs him, the occurrences in which George realizes Lennie will always be the same and get into the same troubles, and the reality they both had become interdependent on each other in a confused sort of love-hate relationship. It can be seen throughout the novel that no matter his anger for Lennie, George still seemed to always care for him.
The main question that many that surrounds George throughout the novel is why he carries the burden of Lennie on his shoulders and always takes him around. George tells people that Lennie is his cousin (“He’s my… cousin. I told his old lady I’d take care of him” p. 22). Lennie does however seem to think that George is going through a lot to keep him around. He cares for George enough to leave and take the burden off his shoulders as seen when he says “Well, I could. I could go off, in the hills there. Some place I’d find a cave. ” George is persistently lecturing him on how things work and what to do.
What George doesn’t lecture Lennie about is how much harder life would be without him. Lennie doesn’t realize that he is the one that gets the work done and he is George’s ticket to obtaining a better life. This is the reason why he tells people that Lennie is his cousin. George needs a reason to always be with Lennie; he needs the workhorse that will get him his farm. This is not to meant to portray as a bad person that is using Lennie. George cares for him because he gets so much done and he feels sympathy for Lennie’s innocence and inability to control his brute strength.
The truth though is that more than caring for him, George need’s him to follow his dream. And throughout the novel he uses ways to make sure Lennie stays with him such as telling people they are cousins and enticing Lennie with the grand stories of the farm. Through the novel it is apparent that Lennie is barely functional in society. George takes care of him on the notion he will be able to teach Lennie the ways of life and in the end he will be fine and they will start a farm. Many times Lennie proves that his personality is unchanging and he has great trouble learning.
He forgets constantly what gets him in trouble such as killing animals with his monstrous hands or touching the girl in the red dress. As George realizes the state of mind is in he begins to become upset with Lennie yet sympathetic because he knew ironically Lennie wouldn’t completely understand or even remember being lectured. With the realization that Lennie was much dumber than he had known not being able to remember most things George began to see the relationship dissolve to a father-son type of relationship.
Georges important quote “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. We don’t have to sit in no bar room blowin’ in our jack jus’ because we got no place else to go. If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us. ” can be seen as the hope that kept George with Lennie but by the end of the novel it is just a habitually story George tells Lennie to make him feel better.
George was really the only person in control of Lennie throughout the story. Lennie can’t seem to learn or remember his encounters with people besides George. He enjoys repeating constantly George’s stories of the farm and how they were a great pair. George felt very sympathic for Lennie and he cared for him and this is why he told them the stories. Subconsciously George needed Lennie very much and so he became very sad when he knew Lennie wouldn’t make it after killing Curlie’s wife.
When George decides to kill Lennie he accepts the fact that he must move on even if it be to loneliness becuase he needed to kill Lennie to protect his innocence. George knew he was doing the write thing in helping a man that couldn’t help himself. George and Lennies relationship transformed into a jumbled mess of George’s emotions by the end of the novel. Lennie was a good friend but really had no change in personality throughout. George was sympathetic for him and as he grew weary of him he also grew sad. George was just as lonely as he was before he killed him then he was after.