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A Character And Moral Study Of George Milton

1163 words - 5 pages

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. This displays George’s cleverness with Lennie. George also uses his creative thinking to keep them out of the trouble. When they first arrive in Soledad and the boss questions why the two travel around together, but Lennie doesn’t speak, George states “He’s my... cousin... He got kicked in the head by a horse when he was a kid” (Steinbeck 22), which is a lie. George also hid himself and Lennie in an irrigation ditch in Weed after Lennie got in trouble for touching a girl’s soft red dress. However, George also uses his cleverness at the end of the novel after killing Lennie with Carlson’s gun. He says that Lennie had Carlson’s gun and Lennie had get it away from him before killing him, which is also a lie. Although Lennie’s clever nature often is used in a compassionate way, it must be noted that he also uses his street smarts for more nefarious and selfish purposes.
Outside of George being a man with a lot of common sense and intelligence, he also is very compassionate. Perhaps not as much as Slim, but almost everything George does is impassioned and driven by his deep care for Lennie. There is a lot of debate as to whether George killing Lennie was a selfish act. However, George’s body language in the last moment of...

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