a) How do the details in this passage add to your understanding of George and his relationship to Lennie?
b) How does Steinbeck use their relationship in the novel as a whole to convey ideas about the American dream in the 1930’s?
The passage presents George as very defensive and possessive over Lennie. The use of the world ‘defensively’ shows that George really cares about Lennie and sees him as someone that he will give his life to. He defends him as slim starts to question their relationship causing a moment of tension as he defends his own, like a father defending his son. This not only emphasizes Georges bond with Lennie but demonstrates the mutual respect and loyalty they have for each other. George is further shown as defensive as slim then relaxes back ‘quiet and receptive’ as George sits in silence.
The passage also shows the development of the George and Lennie relationship and how it has progressed through the age and experience. “well I ain’t don’t nothing like that no more”. After finishing the softened speech to slim about his past events with Lennie, George then ends with this final line. This conveys the story of their relationship as a figure of repentance towards his past mistakes and when he took advantage of Lennie loyalty to him. Though George displays his sorrow attitude about his mistakes, he looks upon them and uses it as a sense of motivation to perspire to their joint ‘American dream’.
From the passage, we are also able to see more about their relationship through the entity of slim. Slim listens throughout Georges moment of reflection and then comments ‘Guys don’t need sense to be a nice fella’. In order to allow for the comforting of George as he reflects upon his past behaviour, he talks about Lennie, someone that is clearly displayed as a monument in Georges life which as a result of this raises the weight of the atmosphere and causes a sudden break within the story.
Steinbeck uses their relationship as they conveyed meaning and the displays of effort they were to put in, in order to achieve the American dream. George and Lennie had to struggle in order to survive the harsh times of lowly paid wages and low employment but were lucky enough to secure jobs. Steinbeck conveys the idea of the American dream by demonstrating the harshness of the reality within the given time period and also shows how intense work accessibility was.
The American dream was further conveyed as Lennies repetition of his and Georges own American dream throughout the novella ‘to live off the flatta land’. This not only drove the career it also potentially means for a possible steady income which they could then save rather than ‘blowing out their jack’ as this was the stereotypical movement for the average worker of their time period.
Steinbeck uses George and Lennie as a vehicle to drive the idea of the how intense the time period was. George has the role of carrying Lennie from place to place and potentially acting as his bodyguard whenever trouble is has occurred e.g. Weed. Towards the end of the novella, Lennie accidently kills Curley’s wife causing a forced decision upon George, which he did not want to have to make. George then shot Lennie in the back of this head in order to reduce the chances of Curley attacking to him and prosperously killing first. Before his death, George tells his to recite the planned American dream for the last time as he ‘looks down the river’, not only did Steinbeck do this to cause a dramatic ending, he also included this towards the ending that times were harsh and not everybody has the ability to benefit the dream nor live it henceforth
AQA English Literature Of mice and men response for marking, thank you
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