George Milton starts out in the novella as a travelling mid-aged ranch worker in California during the Great Depression, accompanied by another worker named Lennie Small. George is characterized in the book to be “small and quick, dark of face, with restless eyes and sharp, strong featured” (Steinbeck 2). His companion and only “family,” Lennie, is arguably the exact opposite of him. Lennie is described to be a strong and large, but very unintelligent character. George has been taking care of him for a very long time (ever since Lennie’s Aunt Clara died), and in a way, he is stuck with Lennie and all of the troubles Lennie keeps causing for the two of them. However, George doesn’t have the heart to abandon Lennie in order to pursue a lifestyle of which he had always wanted to live. George will sometimes say to Lennie, “‘God a’mighty, if I was alone I could live so easy. I could go get a job an’ work, an’ no trouble… [and] get whatever I want…An’ what I got?’ George went on furiously. ‘I got you’” (Steinbeck 11)! But whenever George goes off into a rant, his anger is short-lived ...
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...his lie. George’s reality finally surpasses expectations; his reality isn’t what he expected it to be.
By analyzing both events, it can be said that the George is constantly trying to keep up with expectations and reality. In event one, expectations win him over. The little place with the couple of acres suddenly seemed closer to him than it had ever been. Lennie and Candy, but especially George, thought that it was going to happen, that it was going to be achieved. But not long after, the second event changes everything. Lennie changes everything. Lennie’s uncalled for actions made George’s dream vanish, dropped him right back down to earth. Reality was the winner in the end. Steinbeck expresses that while you need expectations to achieve a better reality, reality is needed to keep your expectations real. A balance is necessary, but is a perfect balance achievable?
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