Friendship in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men


In the novella, Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, the presence of true friendship illustrated between George and Lennie is one of the most crucial components to notice and is used to highlight the effective bonding and relationship between the two characters. Throughout the story, the reader can detect several instances of true and genuine aspects of friendship between the two companions through their thoughts, feelings, and actions. In the novel, Steinbeck’s portrayal of the friendship between Lennie and George depicts that it is not a codependent friendship because both friends express true and genuine feelings towards one another, not causing a burdensome relationship.

Earlier in the novel, the two friends express their true friendship to one another, introducing a parentlike figure, George, and a humble and childlike personality, Lennie. When the friends relax near the river, Lennie claims that George “could cover [his] beans with [ketchup] and [he] wouldn’t touch none of it”, which explains Lennie’s care towards George because he is sacrificing his likings and desires only for him, thus representing a true and quality relationship (Steinbeck 7). Lennie’s humble and innocent personality shows that he and George are really good friends and they care for each other. Furthermore, towards the end of the novel, George decides to pull “the trigger” which illustrates that George made a very wise decision to end Lennie’s life, for it resulted in him not having to suffer brutally at the hands of Curley in the future (Steinbeck 52). The fact that George cares so much about Lennie not having to go through a painful death represents their true friendship because George does not want him to suffer. Goerge and Lennie are true friends and because George took this action of giving Lennie a peaceful death, it is describing their quality of real friendship, not a codependent relation.

Even though the two companions are not alike, their friendship, understanding, and differences bond them together throughout the novel. When George claims that he “ain’t mad…and never been mad” at Lennie, he states that it is the one and only fact he wants him to know (Steinbeck 8). During this scene, George expresses his emotions and feelings towards his friend which reveals his soft and kind identity. In spite of all the trouble Lennie generates, hence causing George to behave aggressively, in this quote he claims that he was never furious at him, regardless of his childlike behavior and acts, for he cares for him and does things for his own benefit. Additionally, as George declares that Lennie is not a “cuckoo” or “crazy” to Slim during their conversation, he immediately replies that he is not insane which helps describe their friendship relationship (Steinbeck 35). The fact that he is standing up for Lennie and not tolerating impolite things being said about his friend shows his love and care towards him.

As long as the two friends have each other, they have someone to look after and be motivated to continue living their lives. Lennie exclaims that he has George “to look after [him], and he looks after George, which depicts that they are like a family, despite being migrant farmworkers who usually have to travel long distances far away from home, hence not owning a proper family (Steinbeck 8). However, in George and Lennie’s case, they have each other in their lives and that is showing their true friendship, for the fact they both travel together and are there for each other reveals their true bond, and because Lennie laughs “delightedly”, it displays that he is happy about their friendship (Steinbeck 8). Moreover, George claims that he wants Lennie “to stay with” him and this dialogue reveals a lot about his personality, for even though he behaves harshly at Lennie for causing mischief, he still likes him and wants him in his life (Steinbeck 7). After all of the trouble caused, George does not leave Lennie and move on with his life alone, however he stays with him and they live their life together. Their friendship is very powerful and strong, for after all, George’s life would not be complete without Lennie by his side because both of them are very used to having each other in their living, as when George particularly claims that he wants him to stay with him which proves that they are true friends.

In summation, the personalities and characteristics of these two friends display their true and warm relationship with each other. Their friendship represents both love and hate, for the troubles caused by the impulsive and childish Lennie eventually get settled by the thoughtful and supporting George. By examining these aspects of true friendship, a deeper theme of companionship and care is demonstrated throughout the novel, a sense of love between the two friends who constantly guide and motivate each other that show that George and Lennie represent a tale of true friendship.

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