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What do Steinbeck's first descriptions of George and Lennie tell us about their
Steinbeck starts his descriptions of Lennie and George with their practical similarities;
"Both were dressed in denim trousers" and "Both wore black shapeless hats" in order
to make the contrasts of their personalities and physical appearances even more
To further emphasize their differences Steinbeck juxtaposes his illustration of
George "small and strong features" with Lennie's "shapeless face ...with
sloping shoulders." The descriptions suggests while George is shrewd and quick Lennie
is clumsy. Steinbeck creates vivid imagery of Lennie by comparing him to a
bear "dragging his feet a little the way a bear drags his paws" Steinbeck uses another
animal comparison when he uses a simile to compare Lennie to a horse, Lennie "drank
with long gulps, snorting the water like a horse" Lennie seems to be very child like and
constantly needs telling what to do by George.…read more

Slide 3

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Hints about the nature of Lennie and George's relationship
This first description of the two friends also gives us hints about their
relationship "even in the open one stayed behind the other". George talks to Lennie
like he is a child by using a negative imperative "don't drink so much you gonna be
sick like you was last night".
The reader gets the sense that Lennie looks up to George when "Lennie, who had
been watching imitated George exactly" The way George says to Lennie "You'd think
I'd let you carry your own work card" added to Lennie's behaviour in the clearing
gives the reader the impression that Lennie is dependant upon George to look after
him. When Lennie remembers what he must do at the new ranch George calls him
a "good boy" . Further on in section one Lennie is compared to a dog while George is
his master with the simile "like a terrier who doesn't want to bring a ball to his
master"…read more

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How is the dead mouse of significance?
The dead mouse in section one is foreshadowing what it to come in the Novel. The fact that
the mouse is dead tells us that Lennie is very strong but he is unaware of his own strength.
Lennie is a simple minded but meant no harm he only wanted to "Pet it" with his thumb
while they walked along. We see that Lennie is not a malicious being."Jus' wanted to feel
that girl's dress ­ jus' wanted to pet it like a mouse"…read more

Slide 5

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Is George being honest when he says he would be better off without Lennie?
In section 1 George lays back and says "I could get along so easy and so nice if I didn't
have you on my trail." I don't think George really means this. George knows that Lennie
is dependant on him for care and although it does sometimes seem like a burden to
George in reality George needs Lennie's company just as much.
The novel is set in Soledad, meaning lonely in Spanish. George doesn't want to be a
lonely ranch guy stuck in the depression of the 1930s. We see George's compassion in
perhaps one of the most touching lines in this novel "I got you to look after me, and
you got me to look after you."
Their companionship is something rare and beautiful. Lennie and George have a shared
dream, which sets them apart from all the other ranch workers and keep them going.…read more

Slide 6

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Why does George ask Lennie to familiarise himself with the surroundings?
George asks Lennie to familiarise himself with the setting, again foreshadowing what is
to happen in the future "jus' happen to get in trouble like you always done before, I
want you to come right back here an' hide in the bush" .
The definition of the word always is constantly: without variation or change, in every
case. George knows that it is certain that Lennie will get in trouble again. He always
does, it is inevitable. The phrase "jus happen" is to spare Lennie's feeling and a sign of
George's deep hope that this will not happen again.…read more


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