Even though all the ranch hands praise Lennie for his hard work, they leave him out of nightly activities such as horseshoes. George, Lennie s traveling buddy, is smart and fits right in with all of the employees of the ranch, adding to Lennie s isolation. The black stable hand, Crooks, sleeps alone in a tiny room in the stable and is disliked by everyone except for Lennie. Since he is black, segregation is the ultimate reason why no one tries to like or befriend Crooks.
Lennie, who, as an innocent person, has no bigotry in him, visits Crooks one night when everyone else is in town. Even thought Crooks does not show it, he enjoys Lennie s company, and it seems that he and Lennie form a small friendship that would had developed more has the book been longer. Another soul not included with the ranch clique, Curley s wife, whose name is not mentioned in the book, is new to the ranch as well. She married Curley just weeks before Lennie and George arrived. The ranch hands do not accept this lonely soul into their social group because she is new.
However, the ranch hands also do not accept Curley s wife because she obviously is so lonely that the only way she can get attention is by flirting. The only one who does not dismiss her when she flirts is Lennie who is obviously trying to make a friend with another lonely person. These lonely individuals make this novel into a very sad story of real life situations of when people really do not fit in. The idea of obtaining a little farm with animals and crops raised by George and Lennie, and later joined by Candy, an old man, shows how dreams may cause a man to do anything to fulfill that dream.
Lennie is the most enthusiastic and determined to gain the small farm and the all-important things — the rabbits. Lennie repeatedly states that he wants to take care of the rabbits. One reason that Lennie wants the rabbits is because he loves soft things, but he also wants to prove George that he will not mess up by forgetting to feed them. George is halfhearted about the idea, but fakes his enthusiasm just to satisfy Lennie. To get away from his nomadic way of life, George supports the farm idea.
From his intimations given in the book, George ultimately is searching for a wife and to settle down and start a family. The only way he thinks he can do that is via a small farm. Candy, an older man, wants the farm as a nice place to await his coming death. Candy offers his life savings towards the purchasing of the farm. Since he had a lot of money saved up, the story suggests that Candy has been waiting for an opportunity like this for a long time. Everyone has his or her perfect dream, whether it is a house on the countryside, or a mansion in Beverly Hills.
Many of the characters epitomize friendship in each of their different pairs or groups of friends. The friendship between Lennie and George is the strongest in the book and they both watch for each other in different ways. George obviously is the smarter one of the two and handles everything that Lennie cannot comprehend, which is most of the day-to-day events. George s faithfulness to Lennie may be due to a huge promise to Lennie s aunt or he really loves Lennie enough to take really good care of him.
In return for George s watchful eye, Lennie provides protection and security to George. Lennie looks up to George, much like a younger brother would look up to a big brother. The relationship between George and Slim, although not as developed as the relationship between Lennie and George, is still important. When George first arrives at the ranch, Slim instantly befriends him and advises him to keep an eye on Lennie. Also when Lennie kills Curley s wife, Slim comforts George and again advises him to find Lennie before Curley catches him.
This type of friendship symbolizes a sort of father-son relationship, with the parent watching over the children, or in this case, the new ranch hands. Lennie, George, and Candy together demonstrate another small friendship that mainly falls out of pity for the old man Candy. When Candy hears of George and Lennie s idea to buy a small farm, he jumps right into the planning and financing. This friendship is the kind that develops over time due to common interests and convenience. There are many types of relationships strong and weak ones but most result in the comfort and happiness of the friends.
In summary, Of Mice and Men is a powerful story about human relationships that uses Lennie to symbolize pure intent while using the others to demonstrate that many have hidden reasons for their behavior. The murder of Lennie by his best friend in the end and the killing of the dog give proof of the love that friends have for each other. In this case, the love George had for Lennie was enough to put him out of his misery, instead of being tortured and hanged by Curley. Pure trust and love in adult relationships is an ideal that may be the sole domain of the child-like charm of a retarded adult.