Friendship In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

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A friendship is a bond shared with another person, typically of common interests. A friend is honest, loyal, faithful, and trustworthy. It's someone you can share secrets, memories, fears, and dreams with. They stand by you despite arguments or disputes that might arise. Friendships can bring joy, as well as pain; friends want the best for each other, and sometimes sacrifices must be made. In Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck speaks of the advantages and pitfalls to a friendship.

Friends have a strong influence on each other. George, a small, responsible, but sharp-tongued man, is looked up to by Lennie, who is dependent and, with an incomplete mental development, childlike. The two men are part of an uneven friendship, where George is superior. Steinbeck quotes, "Lennie, who had been watching, imitates George exactly" (Steinbeck 3). Yearning for George's acceptance and approval, Lennie mimics George. In the back of his mind, Lennie’s understanding includes that he is different and must prove himself, and in mimicking George, Lennie hopes to be found acceptable. In addition, George’s companionship is what prevents loneliness from consuming Lennie. Lennie cries, “ ‘He won’t,’ ... ‘He won’t do nothing like that. I know George. Me an’ him travels together’ ” (Steinbeck 98). Lennie has confidence in their friendship, and he has every right to, as George has not abandoned him. Despite all the troubles Lennie has brought upon them, George has chosen to remain with him. This is a demonstration of true friendship, for George could have just as easily left Lennie at any point along their perilous journey. For George, his personality has changed as a result of his association with Lennie. At the start of the novel, George expresses his impa...

... middle of paper ... to a friendship, lifestyle, and dream. Whether or not George realized it when Lennie was alive, he needs Lennie; their companionship is what separates them from loneliness that all other workers, like Candy, experience.

Steinbeck’s text suggests that friendships are not always what they seem to be. When one thinks of a typical friendship, some things that generally come to mind include enjoyable encounters and happy memories through compassion, care, and kindness. However, in George’s and Lennie’s friendship, the two do share compassion, care, and kindness, just not along with pleasurable experiences and joyful memories. Instead, hard work and responsibility, for George, are what make their bond so strong. Slim notes, “ ‘I hardly ever seen two guys travel together’ ” (Steinbeck 37). Despite challenges, friendships are still the key to happy and enjoyable lives.

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