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Of Mice and Men Theme of Friendship

(Click the themes infographic to download.)

Of Mice and Men is the equivalent of a bro hug: all sublimated emotion, gruff affection, and hearty back pats. George and Lennie don't text each other eleven times a day, and they don't like every single cat picture the other posts on Facebook—but we still get the sense that they take their friendship more seriously than anything. After all, what else do they have? And what else do any of us have?

Questions About Friendship

  1. Friendship generally seems like a good thing, but the ranch life might be better suited to loners. Are there some circumstances under which it's simply better to be alone? Does George have to learn this lesson the hard way?
  2. Is George and Lennie's friendship fully reciprocal? Do both members contribute and receive equally from each other? Are there any other sets of friends in the book? Why is friendship so rare?
  3. It seems like everyone, from Crooks to Slim, spends an awful lot of time complaining to his friends about how he has no friends. Are these guys really that lonely, or do they simply not recognize they've all got one other? Do they all have one other?
  4. George says quite a bit about how much better his life would be if he didn't have to take care of Lennie. If this is true, why does he stay with Lennie?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

In Of Mice and Men, friendship is dangerous: every time any character gets close to any other, something goes wrong.

George sees friendship as a practical relationship as much as an emotional one. Friends do difficult things for each other—like killing.