Although Lennie is only imagining this scenario, this still shows his growth in maturity and thought. He recognizes how George helps him to survive in every situation, and how he has sacrificed his whole life in order to protect him. He has grown through an experience as scary and traumatizing as strangling Curley's wife, but by thinking with his illusion, he knows how much George has helped him. Lennie recognizes his own shortcomings and failures, but since he cannot do anything, he realizes how much George always supports him. By placing this section of his growth in maturity and realizations, truly makes the next violent action ironic. As George kills Lennie, when at this time, Lennie appreciates all that George does to protect him, makes the situation even more melancholy, ironic, and impactful.
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This line is symbolic for several reasons. First off, it shows that Lennie's development as a character has its limits, as ultimately George is still needed to save Lennie once again. however, the depth goes far greater than that. Lennie encounters three main images/people to him during this portion of the novel. First his Aunt Clara, who despite being a character who never makes a literal appearance, it is quite clear that she had a great importance in Lennie's upbringing, the there is the rabbit, the metaphor for Lennie's dreams, and George. First off, Aunt Clara mistreats and insults Lennie, saying that he has essentially failed her and George, then the rabbit appears to crush all his hopes and dreams, and finally George appears and is, perhaps, the most patient with him at this moment than anywhere else in the entire book. However, what does this all mean? Lennie's family may not have been proud of him, his dream may have crumbled before him, and yet can anyone say that Lennie was not happy simply being around George? Perhaps one may not always be able to accomplish their ultimate dream or carry the family's hopes; however, that does not necessarily mark failure.
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