Wednesday, August 7, 2019

From a close study of the opening of the novel Essay Example for Free

From a close study of the opening of the novel Essay From a close study of the opening of the novel; and with reference to other stages throughout, discuss the relationship of George and Lennie, commenting on how it relates to the theme of loneliness By Matthew Keane In the novel, the two main characters, George and Lennie, have a parent-child relationship, as George leads the way for Lennie; he also gives him advice and teaches him. Lennie follows all advice that George gives him. The idea of a teacher-student relationship is evident because George shows all signs of intelligence; he gives all the advice, and has all the ideas. Lennie on the other hand, is mentally challenged, and needs all the advice that George can give him. Lennies mental capability is reflected in his descriptive appearance, he is often compared to animals, his actions and reactions are childlike, and he also has a bad memory. However, Lennies bad memory can lead to friction, as George can lost his temper with him because he often has to remind Lennie several times before he can remember. Overall, theyre more like father and son than equal adults. From the first time they are introduced, we immediately get the impression of one being a follower and another being a leader, we can tell this by the line, They had walked in single file down the path, and even in the open one stayed behind the other The word even in this sentence signifies that no matter what, George will always lead Lennie, even though there was plenty of space for Lennie to walk next to him, he still stayed behind George. The reader is given an immediate insight to Lennies character when Steinbeck uses animal imagery; most of his actions are compared to animals, Lennie dabbled his big paw These animal comparisons tells the reader that Lennie shares the innocent qualities, as most of his actions are made on impulse, and he doesnt think about what hes doing. Lennie also has a childlike innocence, because he has the mind of a child and again doesnt think about his actions. However, Lennies animal-like behaviour shows that he can have an unpredictable nature, as his acting on impulse can have unexpected results. The childlike qualities that Lennie displays can sometimes lead to friction between him and George. This happens when Lennies memory loss causes George to lost his temper frequently, So you forgot that already did you? I gotta tell you again do I? Jesus Christ, youre a crazy bastard This happens frequently in the novel, this quote is taken just after the bus driver drops them off at the wrong place, George has a reason to chastise Lennie about his poor memory, these outbursts also show that he is in control of Lennie. Steinbeck reinforces the point about who is in control of the relationship by the description if when Lennie keeps a dead mouse in his pocket, and George forces Lennie to give him the mouse. Lennies closed hand slowly obeyed. George took the mouse and threw it across the pool to the other side, amongst the brush The tone used by George Give it here! clearly shows that he is in control. When Lennie retrieves the mouse from the bushes, George shows he is in control by snapping his fingers, and then Lennie immediately returns the mouse. There is another purpose in this episode, which is to show us Lennies irresistible urge to pet things; as later on in the novel it has an important role, as the urge lands him in trouble when he accidentally kills Curleys wife by breaking her neck. So this part in the novel his significance to tell us about Lennies urge to pet soft things. The stroking of soft things symbolises that Lennie wants a soft and easy life, and doesnt want the hard life that he has now. Lennie wishes for something soft that represents the desire for something finer, to be held onto in literal reality leads to tragic consequences of Curleys wifes death, made more poignant, almost dramatic irony takes place at the moment the news arrives that confirms that the ranch is theres. Clearly without George around, Lennie has no control. This control that George has over Lennie also means that Lennie is totally dependant on George. As a result, George often seems angry or upset at Lennie. In the opening, George seems easily angered because of the bus driver, we can tell this by the tone that he speaks to Lennie in, Youre a crazy bastard This brings the negative side of the relationship to the surface, If I was alone, I could live so easy This proves that George can see Lennie as a hindrance to his life, that without Lennie, George wouldnt have to always look after him. George also bring up the subject of what happened in Weed, just to make Lennie feel bad, Jus wanted to feel that girls dresswell, how the hell did she know you just wanted to feel her dress? Also he makes Lennie feel bad by saying that its Lennies fault that they both lose their jobs, I got you! You cant keep a job and you lose me ever job I get This long passage acts as a warning to what happens later in the barn with Curleys wife, we also learn of what happened in Weed, How the hell did she know you jus wanted to feel her dress? She jerks back and you hold on like it was a mouse. She yells and we got to hide in an irrigation ditch all days with guys looking for us This shows us Lennies urge to touch soft things, such as a dress, or Curleys wife hair. The incident with Curleys wife has an uncanny resemblance to what happened in Weed, as while stroking Curleys wifes hair, she gets scared and tries to scream, Lennie tries to stop her screaming and holds on to her, but he unfortunately breaks her neck. Although George is quick to anger, he doesnt want to hurt Lennie, when George realises he has hurt Lennies feelings, he immediately feels bad, His anger left him suddenly, He looked across the fire at Lennies anguished face, and then he looked ashamedly at the flames The true nature of their relationship is revealed as father and son when George apologises to Lennie and then explains to him, No look! I was jus foolin, Lennie. Course I want you to stay with me. Trouble with mice is you always kill em He then tries to reason, First chance I get, Ill give you a pup. Maybe you wouldnt kill it. Thatd be better than mice. This passage ends with George re-counting theyre shared dream, Well have a big vegetable patch and a rabbit hutch and chickens This last phase of the opening chapter clearly shows how George also gets much from this relationship. The unreserved love that Lennie extends to George sets them both apart from the other drifters and farm hands who generally have nothing. Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They dont belong no place. Even though, while angry, George tells Lennie that he could behave like the other men, If I was alone I could live so easy.when the end of the month came I could take my fifty bucks and go into town and get whatever I want His true feelings are revealed later while George is telling slim why he and Lennie are so close, he tells Slim of how one time he abused Lennies trust, while swimming in the Sacramento river, he tells Lennie to dive in the water, even though he cannot swim. George then dives into the river to save Lennie, and since then George realises how much Lennie depends on George. This closeness is confirmed by Georges reaction when Curleys wifes body is found, Maybe theyll lock im up an be nice to him George also tries to defend Lennie as he knows that Lennie didnt mean to kill Curleys wife, Lennie never done it in meanness he said All the time he done bad things but he never done one of em mean' The relationship established in the opening is then illustrated throughout the novel. The first time that George and Lennie meet Curley, George protects Lennie from Curley. What the hell are you getting into it for? We travel together Oh so its that way? Yeah its that way' Also, when Curleys wife first appears, George is again careful to make sure Lennie doesnt make a mistake similar to the incident in Weed, Listen to me you crazy bastard, he said firmly, Dont you even take a look at that bitch. I dont care what she says or what she does' The idea of a father-son relationship is continued during the passage where Curley is attacking Lennie, but Lennie will not fight back until George orders him to, Georgemake um let me alone, George. This shows us that Lennie waits for George to give him permission before hell do anything. When Candy finds Curleys wifes body, George makes it clear that he will not let anyone hurt Lennie Maybe theyll lock im up an be nice to im This shows the strength of their relationship, as George knows that Lennie has done something bad, and should be punished, but he still doesnt want anyone to harm him. Unfortunately, George was unable to save Lennie from himself, and so when Lennie accidentally kills Curleys wife, George has no other option, but to shoot Lennie, he has to take this option because if Lennie was put into prison, he would be alone, with no-one to look after him properly, and condemned to a life if terror and madness. Curley, on the other hand, wants Lennie to die in pain and suffering. Shoot for his guts. Thatll double im over Slim, being the voice of authority in the novel, gives the final confirmation on the killing of Lennie, I guess we gotta get im In my opinion, the novel was very good, the shock ending was very surprising and unexpected, but a closer look throughout the novel foreshows us what happens, such signs as what happened in Weed, the mice that Lennie kills, the need to pet soft things, all of this gives the reader clues to what happens at the end. In my opinion, the relationship between George and Lennie is less than a relationship between two equal adults, and more like father-son, as one of the pair continually leads the other, while the other always follows

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