A Character and Moral Study of George Milton: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

A Character and Moral Study of George Milton: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

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In a scientific study, it was found that people are the best version of themselves when they are around other people. However, during the Great Depression, the idea of human companionship was drowned out by the lonely road that many men walked in search of jobs. This period showed the true impacts of the loneliness of man and also asked very important questions: are we responsible for the welfare of others? Or is it better to just be alone? In John Steinheck’s novel Of Mice and Men, one of the protagonists, George Milton, struggles with this very concept. Stuck with his disabled best friend, Lennie Small, he feels a sense of responsibility towards Lennie, but also acknowledges how much easier his life would be without Lennie. Although George is an incredibly clever and compassionate man, his morals come into question as his conflicted thoughts over Lennie come to a climax.
From the beginning of the novel, it is very obvious that George is incredibly clever and street smart. Lennie is constantly getting into trouble and thus, George has had to come up with some “creative solutions” to solve their many predicaments. One of the tools George uses to keep Lennie in line is threatening to take away one responsibility Lennie really wants: to take care of the rabbits. Throughout all of Of Mice and Men, both Lennie and George reference their desire to buy a small farm together. The biggest part of this dream for Lennie is George’s promise that he will get to take care of the rabbits on the farm. Throughout the story, Lennie often states that if he steps out line, George won’t let him talk care of the rabbits. After breaking Curley’s hand, he asks “I can still take care of the rabbits, George?” (Steinbeck 65) as this is his main concern. T...


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... George being morally sound is a heavy question and one that will never be answered.
George Milton is an intensely creative and compassionate man, but also one that experiences a lot of moral conflict. George takes Lennie’s welfare upon him and does his best to keep Lennie in line and keep them out of trouble. However, when the burden becomes too much on George and he realizes Lennie will never change, he makes the choice to end Lennie’s life. Regardless, Lennie and George are both benefited by the other’s company. Their relationships is a great example of how human companionship awakens the best aspects of a person, but can also shed light on the worst. In John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, George Milton embodies the idea of whether it is better to be selfless and in difficult company, or alone and selfish, but free.


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Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

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