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They had walked in single file down the path, and even in the open one stayed behind the other. Both were dressed in denim trousers and in denim coats with brass buttons. Both wore black, shapeless hats and both carried tight blanket rolls slung over their shoulders. (1.4)
This is our first introduction to Lennie and George. On the one hand, we know right away that they're not equals: one man is walking behind another. On the other hand, they're dressed identically. Is this a relationship of equals? Or is inequality always a part of friendships?
Lennie, who had been watching, imitated George exactly. He pushed himself back, drew up his knees, embraced them, looked over to George to see whether he had it just right. He pulled his hat down a little more over his eyes, the way George's hat was. (1.10)
Sure, it seems like Lennie is about to go Single White Female on George. Instead, this is just part of his metal handicap: George is less of a friend than parent, role model, and idol all wrapped up into one.
"I was only foolin', George. I don't want no ketchup. I wouldn't eat no ketchup if it was right here beside me."
"If it was here, you could have some."
"But I wouldn't eat none, George. I'd leave it all for you. You could cover your beans with it and I wouldn't touch none of it." (1.93-95)
Lennie may not be able to look out for George, but he does what he can for his friend—like give him all the imaginary ketchup.