Friendship Theme in Of Mice and Men
|Topics:||Of Mice and Men, Friendship, 📗 Book|
Table of Contents
Friendship is a precious treasure that every person wants to have in life. With good friends, life can be enjoyable, as one can always count on help from true friends in times of need. However, such mutually beneficial and long-lasting friendship is rare to find. Luckily, John Steinbeck, in his novella, Of Mice and Men, sets the ground that portrays what friendship means between individuals. Steinbeck (1937) uses the novella to demonstrate the theme of friendship, among other themes in the book, for example, loneliness and the American dream. George and Lennie display one of the most appealing friendships and trustworthiness in their daily lives and dealings. In Of Mice and Men, the close association between George and Lennie and how George saves Lennie from Curley’s anger after Curley’s wife’s death, and the provoking incident in Weed show great friendship.
The Close Association Between George and Lennie
First, the constant association between George and Lennie justifies true friendship. In the novella, George and Lennie spend time together, surprising those at the ranch. At one point, Slim says, “Ain’t (sic) many guys travel around together” (Steinbeck, 1937, p. 13). These words indicate Slim is surprised by the extraordinary close bond between George and Lennie, to the point they spend unusual time together. The trust between George and Lennie is intact, considering the existing mistrust and individualism in any society, especially during times of depression. Equally, the friendship between George and Lennie is noticeable as Curley and Crooks become curious about how George and Lennie spend time together. When Crooks and Curley question the bond between these two great friends, George resorts to lying to them. George says, “He’s my…. (Sic) cousin” (Steinbeck, 1937, p. 9). George cheats to avoid unnecessary scrutiny about his association with Lennie at the ranch. For George and Lennie, their friendship is for mutual benefit. They closely relate, which makes their lives at the ranch interesting. Their togetherness is evident in how they spend time together and how other characters see them as too close to each other.
How George Saves Lennie After Curley’s Wife’s Death and in Weed
Again, how George and Lennie cooperate to handle the subsequent events after Curley’s wife’s death is a sign of true friendship. The best time to know a friend is when one has trouble that requires friends to chip in and help. In the novella, Lennie accidentally kills Curley’s wife, although he never intended to do it, which puts him in trouble (Taima, n.d.). After realizing that Curley’s wife is dead, Lennie says: “I done (sic) a bad thing. I done (sic) another bad thing” (Steinbeck, 1937, p. 34). It is a moment of trouble for Lennie, but as a true friend, George shows up to offer immeasurable support through merciful killing. George knows that if he fails to kill his friend Lennie, Curley will use the most inhumane ways to humiliate Lennie (Steinbeck, 1937). Rather than see Curley lynch and lock Lennie to torture him, George sees it desirable to shoot Lennie. George feels heartbroken that their shared dream has come to a halt. Although it is an unfortunate incident to shoot a friend, it is a merciful action by George, who feels that his friend Lennie does not deserve inhumane treatment at the hands of Curley. Undoubtedly, friends always show support in times of trouble. George fulfills this principle for his ardent friend Lennie.
Lastly, George and Lennie demonstrate friendship in the novella through actions in the town of Weed. Lennie finds himself in different unfortunate situations. While in Weed, Lennie finds trouble when he is accused of rape for touching a girl’s dress (Steinbeck, 1937). The situation turns out hostile after the girl raises the issues to local authorities. George comes in to salvage Lennie by helping him escape from the town and hide to evade the wrath of the Weed people chasing after them (Iqbal, 2018). In this scenario, George demonstrates friendship and unwavering loyalty to his friend George. Despite this mishap, George still commits to living with Lennie. At one point, George confirms from Lennie, “An’ (sic) you ain’t (sic) gonna (sic) do no bad things like you done in Weed, neither.” (Steinbeck, 1937, p. 3). These words demonstrate George’s willingness to forgive Lennie for his destructive behaviors and stick with him as a show of true friendship. Even when Lennie is at fault, George is willing to take risks to help him.
Undoubtedly, George and Lennie’s friendship is conspicuous, depicted through their constant togetherness, how George helps Lennie after Curley’s wife’s death, and during rape accusations in Weed. George and Lennie spend most of their time together, which surprises others on the ranch. They are ever together in a society characterized by mistrust, which signifies strong friendship. When Lennie accidentally kills Curley’s wife, George shows up with a merciful option of killing Lennie than letting Curley subject him to inhumane treatment. More so, George helps Lennie escape and offers to stay with him, a sign of a strong friendship. Undoubtedly, friendship is a primary theme in the novella.
- Iqbal, M. (2018). George Milton’s existence in John Steinbeck’s of mice and men. State Islamic University of Sunan Ampel Surabaya. http://digilib.uinsby.ac.id/26267/6/Mohammad%20Iqbal_A73214091.pdf
- Steinbeck, J. (1937). Of mice and men. Lulu.
- Taima, S. (n.d.). Dream and friendship in of mice and men. Core. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/292906717.pdf
Offered for reference purposes only.