The complex relationship between the brilliant but frail George Milton and the retarded but muscular Lennie Small are the center of interest of Steinbeck’s novella. Their “loneliness,” and their “American Dream” are one of the important themes that made Steinbeck’s established the complex relationship between the two. The relationship of George and Lennie is inseparable and was revealed in the first part of the novel “because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s why,” according to Lennie. Throughout the reading, Lennie put himself in trouble where George is always there to get him out, “You do bad things and I got to get you out.” At the end of the day, killing Lennie is the right thing to do. LOL
In the opening section of the novel, Steinbeck desires to illustrate the relationship between George and Lennie as leader and follower. Steinbeck’s point out that they ‘walked in single file’ down the narrow path and when they came into the open, ‘one stayed behind the other’ which immediately indicates that George is dominant in the relationship and that being the case, that makes Lennie reliant on George and incapable of looking after himself. George wouldn’t let Lennie to carry his own work card because he is worried that he might lose it because he’s always absent-minded. The rhetorical question, “think I’d let you carry your own work card?” also indicates George’s annoyance with Lennie as he is always creating problems. In addition, their relationship indicates that George acts as a parental figure and Lennie is similar to a child that always have to be told, “Now, look–I’ll give him the work tickets, but you ain’t gonna say a word. You jus’ stand there and don’t say nothing.” Moreover, George’s complaint, “I could get along so easy and so nice if I didn’t have you on my tail. I could live so easy and maybe have a girl,” and Lennie’s counter complaint, “George, you want I would go away and leave you alone? I could go off in the hills and I’d find a cave,” are not really sincere. They are staged, hollow threats, like the threats of parents and children. Similarly, George’s story about how things are going to be with rabbits and vegetable garden and the fat of the land, also has a formulaic quality, like child’s bedtime story. Children (like Lennie) love to hear the same tale repeated countless times; even when they have the story memorized, they love to talk along, anticipating the major turns in the story and correcting their parents if they leave out any details. The rabbits is Lennie’s bedtime story, and while George isn’t exactly a parent to Lennie, he is nevertheless parental. George is Lennie’s guardian and in guarding Lennie, George is in effect guarding innocence itself. To quote what Lennie has said, “because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s why,” to George shows a powerful and intimate relationship between the two characters. Since the death of Lennie’s Aunt Clara, George took it upon himself to take responsibility of him and his special needs. Their mutual dependence on one another what keeps George and Lennie together.