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"God, you're a lot of trouble," said George. "I could get along so easy and so nice if I didn't have you on my tail. I could live so easy and maybe have a girl."
For a moment Lennie lay quiet, and then he said hopefully, "We gonna work on a ranch, George." (1.56-57)
Uh-huh. Somehow we doubt that a girl would be much inclined to wander from ranch to ranch while George looks for steady work.
[Lennie] said gently, "George… I ain’t got mine. I musta lost it." He looked down at the ground in despair.
"You never had none, you crazy bastard. I got both of ‘em here. Think I’d let you carry your own work card?"
Lennie grinned with relief. (1.22-24)
George looks out for Lennie, so Lennie is definitely stronger with George around. But is the same true for George? Or does Lennie just bring him down?
[George] heard Lennie’s whimpering cry and wheeled about. "Blubberin’ like a baby! Jesus Christ! A big guy like you!" Lennie’s lip quivered and tears started in his eyes. "Aw, Lennie!" George put his hand on Lennie’s shoulder. "I ain’t takin’ it away jus’ for meanness. That mouse ain’t fresh, Lennie; and besides, you’ve broke it pettin’ it. You get another mouse that’s fresh and I’ll let you keep it a little while." (1.76)
Words like "whimpering" and "blubbering" aren't very dignified: Lennie isn't weeping like a man; he's whining like a baby. Is this weakness sympathetic—or just pathetic?