“There is friendship, there is family, and then you have friends that become your family.” (unknown). John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men tells the story of Lennie and George Small, freelancing ranch workers in the 1930s who dream of owning their land. They discovered the friendship that allows them to move around Northern California in search of new opportunities. They faced many obstacles as they worked to achieve their dreams, but they stayed strong together to find their friendship. Steinbeck’s accurate portrayal of friendship as essential and vital in one’s life is a testament to his understanding. Without it, people can become irrationally angry and spiteful. Lennie, a tall and mentally disabled man, is featured in the novel. George, a small, sharp, quick-tempered, but strong leader, is also featured. George is always there to help Lennie and keep him from getting into trouble. George realized that Lennie was severely mentally handicapped and would support him by being there for him. George proves that friendship is built around the person and not on their outside appearance. George doesn’t let Lennie down when he gets frustrated. He still takes care of Lennie. George was there to support Lennie in his mistakes and get him into serious trouble. Slim asked George about his friendship and he replied “Yes we travel together.” (page 35). Lennie and George have a strong friendship. Although Lennie did some bad things, it was a close friendship. Loneliness can make you feel depressed. Many people struggle with loneliness. It can lead to a lack in communication and negatively impact the lives of others. Steinback describes Curley and Candy’s loneliness. Curley’s spouse is married to Curley. Curley is a man who proves that he can defeat any man. Curley also marries Candy because he finds her attractive to men. Curley dominates his wife’s freedom mainly through the novel. He won’t let other men speak to his spouse. Curley’s wife is desperate to find a friend and someone she can talk with. Chapter 4: She entered Crooks’ bedroom and threatened him. Crooks tried to defend himself but she said “sprung up on an easy tree, it’s not even funny.” Curley’s spouse was never called a “tramp” by her husband. Curley would allow Curley’s wife to have a conversation with other men and make them friends. It would make Curley happier than if Curley made Curley a friend. Great friendships like George or Lennie can help end loneliness.
George and Lennie grow closer together towards the end. They have a strong bond. George is a good friend to Lennie and does everything for him in the hope of helping him later in his life. It was clear that George cares deeply about Lennie, as he shot him on the back of his skull. George did not want Lennie to hurt. But, it was necessary to do the right thing and make Lennie have a happy life. The shot went off and Lennie rolled back up. Lennie settled back down slowly.” George was Lennie’s best friend. George had to see his friends beat up and/or killed. Although it was difficult for George to see Lennie dead, it is a sign of how deep their friendship has been throughout the book.
George and Lennie share a unique friendship that no other characters have. These two friends are a symbol of friendship, even when one is troublemaker. The novel shows us how much George really knows about Lennie. The friendships that are made may be different from what we see now. Although friendship at school may seem to be a myth, there aren’t many friends who stay close until death. Teenagers, as well as adults, are obsessed with expensive gadgets, clothes and other items. They become so fascinated by everything, they neglect to communicate with their peers. They are too busy with other things to be able to have a conversation with their friends or to discover differences among them. I learned from this novel that friendship is essential for success in life.