Of Mice and Men: George and Lennie’s Nature

In John Steinbeck’s novella Of Mice and Men there are many characters, all characterized in different ways. The two that stand out the most are the two main characters, George and Lennie. George is a lonely ranch man with an extreme temper. He gets very frustrated with others, primarily Lennie, but near the end of the novel, George proveys an act of love towards his friend. On the other hand, Lennie is a man with a disability seeking a friend to help him tend rabbits and live off the “fatta the land.” These two possess different character traits and interact in an interesting way.

One of George’s main character traits is that he has a harsh temperament. A prime example of this is on pages 11 and 12, George says “Well, we ain’t got any,” George Exploded. He then proceeds to say an angry monologue, where he calls Lennie a “Crazy son of a b*****” and describes all Lennie’s past actions in an impassioned manner. He is very ardent and shows no sympathy towards Lennie. This shows that Steinbeck portrays George as a man with an unsteady temper who will get infuriated easily.

On the other hand, George’s best friend is another man named Lennie. Lennie has a mental disability seeking a friend and rabbits to tend. Lennie makes bad decisions, like on page 12 when George mentions that Lennie grabs a girl’s dress in weed and doesn’t let go. Lennie doesn’t intend to do any harm, but the accomodations weren’t the same for people with mental health issues. He also accidentally kills multiple puppies and Curley’s wife. In spite of these unintended outcomes, Lennie is really a benign man who just wants to live out the American Dream with George and a few rabbits.

George and Lennie together also possess another quality, friendship. Even though George is harsh to Lennie throughout the novella, the two stick together. On page 14, Lennie says “If you don’t want me, you only jus’ got to say so, and I’ll go off in those hills right there-right up in those hills and live by myself. An’ I won’t get no mice stole from me.” Then George replies “I want you to stay with me, Lennie. Jesus Christ, somebody’d shoot you for a coyote if you was by yourself.” Also, on page 15, George talks about how guys like him and Lennie, who live on ranches are the loneliest guys in the world and how they can not accomplish anything, but how him and Lennie are different from that. Then Lennie asks why not them. George replies with “Because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s why.” This implies that George and Lennie care about each other to a deep extent and need each other.

In the novel, there is a character who is just referred to as Curley’s wife. On pages 98 and 99, Lennie is flirting with Curley’s wife and is stroking her hair. When she yells at him to stop messing it up, he panics and covers her mouth, and tells her to stop yelling and that he doesn’t want George to be mad at him. This shows that he cares about George’s opinion of him. When Curley’s wife goes into full blown panic, he shakes her violently to telling her to stop. Then, she falls to the ground, dead, with a broken neck. Lennie had no intention to harm her, it was an accident. When George finds out what Lennie had done, and hears what Curley and Carlson want to do to him, he says he hopes they don’t hurt him in the slammer, but when he realizes Lennie’s fate is inevitable, he knows what he has to do. George kills Lennie so that no one will lynch him or torture him. He tries to comfort him before his death and says he was never mad at him. This shows that George actually has the quality of love inside him. George’s action is the ultimate act of love towards his friend.

John Steinbeck’s novella Of Mice and Men, has many characters with complex character traits. The main two are George and Lennie. These two are lonely ranch men who bear different qualities, but these two have a unique friendship that gets them through a lot together, until George kills Lennie in the ultimate act of love towards his friend. These two’s character traits are unique and each come back to their friendship.