CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 1
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  • Characterization: George Milton
  • Symbolism: Nature
  • Theme: Isolation/Loneliness
  • In Chapter one, George is described as short-tempered, but a devoted friend nonetheless. Though he frequently complains about life with Lennie, George never strays from his primary purpose of protecting Lennie. We see this when the story about how the two protagonists lost their previous job unravels. George complains about how Lennie is always getting into trouble, and George has to get him out. He says to Lennie accusingly, "You got me in hot water all the time" (p 11), yet we see that George never abandons him.
  • In Chapter One, the natural environment is symbolic of the life George and Lennie strive to achieve; a life free from the unpleasant reality of working for someone else and instead, working for themselves and living off "the fatta' the lan'" (p 14). Nature represents freedom from the obstacles that arise due to Lennie's developmental disability.
  • While the relationship between George and Lennie is less than ideal, it is enough to combat the oppressive loneliness that plagues most migrant ranch workers. George acknowledges that "guys like [them], that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world"(p13). They have no family, and they don't belong anywhere; but worst of all, they "ain't got nothing to look ahead to" (p 14). However, George and Lennie are not like that because they have each other to lean on.Their unique friendship allows the two protagonists to feel superior in a way, and it gives them hope.
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