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When George and Lennie are traveling to the ranch and Lennie stops to drink out of a pond of dirty water George screamed “Lennie! Lennie for god sakes don’t drink so much”… “Lennie, you gonna be sick like you was last night!” This quote shows thats George is concerned about Lennie’s health and well-being, and that Lennie does not now better by drinking dirty water. He plans Lennie’s life as well as his own, and tries to make him as happy as possible.
Lennie serves as a companion and potential protection for George (He says at one point, “Ain’t nobody goin’ to talk no hurt to George,” suggesting that his response to any threat against his friend.) The most telling statement from both men about their friendship is the one they repeat as part of their ritual. As Lennie and George go over the shape of their dream and plan for the future, they repeatedly define their friendship by saying that they are not like the other traveling workers. Some quotes to show evidence they they are not like the other travelers are, “George: “We ain’t like that” Lennie “Not us! An’ why? Because… because I got you to look after me, and you’ve got me to look after you, and that’s why.” To George, this dream of having their own place means independance, security, being their own boss, and most importantly “being somebody.” To Lennie, the dream is like the soft animals he pets: It means security, the responsibility of tending the rabbits, and a sanctuary where he won’t have to be afraid.
To Candy, who sees the farm as a place where he can assert a responsibility he didn’t take when he let Carlson kill his dog, it offers security for old age and a home where he will fit in. For Crooks, the little farm will be a place where he can have self-respect, acceptance, and security. For each man George, Lennie, Candy, and Crooks human dignity is an integral part of the dream. Having and sharing the dream, however, are not enough to bring it to fruition. Each man must make a sacrifice or battle some other force that seeks, intentionally or not, to steal the dream away. Initially, the obstacles are difficult but not insurmountable: staying out of trouble, not spending money on liquor or in bordellos, and working at the ranch long enough to save the money for a down payment.
The complicating factor of this relationship comes with the fact that Lennie is not a child and is responsible for his own actions. Though George is Lennie’s “caretaker”, he can only take a moral responsibility for Lennie’s misdeeds, not a legal one. This fact leads to the book’s climax where both modes of responsibility meet in a dramatic resolution.
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