George Milton in Of Mice and Men: Description & Quotes

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  • 0:00 George Milton: Dynamic…
  • 0:49 Lennie's Keeper
  • 1:57 Responsibility & Loneliness
  • 3:28 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Tommi Waters

TK Waters has a bachelor's degree in literature and religious studies and a master's degree in religious studies and teaches Hebrew Bible at Western Kentucky University.

In this lesson, we will look at the character of George Milton from John Steinbeck's novel ''Of Mice and Men'', and see how his character develops from mean and quick-tempered to a caring and responsible man.

George Milton: Dynamic Protagonist

George Milton is the somewhat unlikeable protagonist of Of Mice and Men. While Lennie Small, George's companion, is simple-minded and friendly, George is sharp in every way: his physical features are slim and sharp; he has a sharp mind and wit; he is quick-tempered and sharp when dealing with Lennie. John Steinbeck describes him as '…small and quick, dark of face, with restless eyes and sharp, strong features.' Despite his character flaws, we grow to appreciate George as he develops. Unlike Lennie, George is a dynamic character, meaning his thoughts and actions develop throughout the course of the story. Though he is a seemingly harsh man, he cares about Lennie. His sense of responsibility evolves from being responsible for Lennie to being responsible to everybody around them, as we will later see.

Lennie's Keeper

Despite George's shortcomings, like being overly brash and mean, he always takes care of Lennie. He often becomes exasperated with Lennie when he does not do what he is told, or forgets things, but after his bursts of anger he feels bad for getting upset. George and Lennie's relationship is often portrayed like a master and his dog. After being run out of the town of Weed, they prepare to go work at a ranch. George says, '…I'll give him the work tickets, but you ain't gonna say a word. You jus' stand there and don't say nothing.' When Lennie repeats this, George says, 'Good boy! That's fine, Lennie!' Despite being initially angry at Lennie for forgetting, he is sure to praise him when he does right.

After arriving on the ranch and meeting everyone, George is cautious about Curley and his wife. The two of them both seem to have their eyes on Lennie -- but for different reasons. Curley is cruel and looking to fight, while Curley's wife is looking for attention and companionship. George repeatedly warns Lennie not to mess with either of them, particularly Curley's wife, because he is afraid that she will lure the innocent, confused Lennie into a relationship, costing them their jobs.

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