Explain how Steinbeck presents George and Lennie in the opening section. What do we learn?

Submitted By miacollins1998
Words: 1230
Pages: 5

Explain how Steinbeck presents George and Lennie in the opening section. What do we learn?

As the first characters are introduced in the novel, Steinbeck presents George and Lennie in a way which depicts great detail about who they are and their relationship with each other in the novel, or as it is sometimes portrayed, a screenplay.
Steinbeck chooses to describe George first; this may portray George as being the head of the two of the men. George is described as "small and quick, dark of the face with restless eyes and sharp, strong features." This shows that he's fit and athletic, perhaps he has become this way due to his constant travels from ranch to ranch, he is an itinerant worker, as it Lennie. George's "restless eyes" suggest to the reader that, although he has been travelling for probably a long time, he is still eager and determined to get to his latest destination.
Following George's description, there is a considerable amount of contrast when it comes to describing Lennie, "a huge man, shameless of face, with large, pale eyes, with wide, sloping shoulders." This shows that Lennie is the, per say, less athletic one of the two. Perhaps as he has "wide, sloping shoulders", he has adapted to the role of an itinerant worker due to the fact his shoulders allow him to carry, though it's very little, his, and perhaps Georges, belongings.
As George was described former to Lennie, this suggests a, though be it small, hierarchy between the two men. This theory can be sensed through out the rest of section one, which we further learn to be true. We sense, instantly, that George is the superior one to the two, due to the fact he was mentioned firstly. Another reason as to why we note George as the head of the two men, is due to the fact Lennie tends to imitate George's mannerisms, as if he idolizes him. Their relationship could be perceived as a parent figure to Lennie. It is stated that "Lennie imitated George exactly." He then "looked over to George to see if he had it just right." This implies that, as the two men only have each other, Lennie has no one else to idolize...so he willingly settles for Lennie. Later on in the novel, it is apparent that George could have left Lennie at any point. George could have left Reed and let the authorities take Lennie so George was able to run off, start somewhere new with a better job and won't have Lennie as a hindrance anymore. The fact that George helped Lennie escape Reed shows that they really care for each other. It is obvious that Lennie and George depend on each other. Lennie is childlike, he doesn't know an awful lot about life and how to take care of himself, and he relies on George to keep him out of trouble. George, on the other hand, relies on Lennie because Lennie is an innocent figure, he still holds on to the chastity that most children have...he doesn't know of harsh times that the men both face together.
The itinerant farm worker of the Great Depression found it difficult to establish a fixed home. As were other men of that era, George and Lennie were forced to wander from ranch to ranch in search of temporary employment; to live in bunk houses with strangers, and to suffer the abuses of their xenophobic boss. George sums up the misery of the situation him and Lennie have to face, several times. During his monologue to Lennie, George states that "Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don't belong no place" However, in yet another monologue, George tries to turn their life situations around and try to make the most of their lives, "With us it ain't like that." He and Lennie have found a camaraderie; they watch out for one another. And beyond that, they have a dream of finding a fixed place they could call home, a farm of their own. This is the American dream. They are doing what they can to resist sinking into miserable loneliness, which included Lennie, encouraging George to repeat, constantly,