Of Mice and Men

George Milton Character Analysis

George Milton is one of the protagonists in Of Mice and Men. A small, wiry, and wily hustler who’s quick on his feet and sharp to boot, George travels around the countryside with his childhood companion, Lennie, looking for work on ranches and migrant farms across California. George has cared for Lennie for years, and though he has increasingly come to see his lumbering, simple-minded companion as a burden, he finds himself incapable of abandoning Lennie and leaving him exposed to the cruelties of the world. At the start of the novella, George and Lennie are on the run after escaping a ranch in a town called Weed, where Lennie got them into trouble after grabbing the hem of a young woman’s dress because he wanted to touch its soft fabric. George is determined to make their next position their last—he wants to save up enough money to buy a spit of land all his own, farm it, and live there with Lennie free of the responsibilities and indignities of working for a different ranch boss each month. George is clearly weary and resentful of the way he’s been living, but doesn’t know how to seize his fate and change his circumstances. After arriving on the ranch in Soledad and meeting Candy—an old man who offers to use the settlement he received for an injury years ago to help George buy some land—George begins to believe that he and Lennie are at last going to be free from their rootless and directionless lifestyle. When Lennie kills the wife of the boss’s son, Curley, however, George is forced to admit that his dream of a free, plentiful life on his own farm was never going to be a reality. And, moreover, he must kill Lennie in order to save his companion from an undignified, torturous death (and himself from suspicion of having aided Lennie in the killing). Proud, crafty, and empathetic in spite of a decidedly selfish streak, George Milton is a portrait of a man at war with himself—desperate to appear strong, capable, and independent even as his love for Lennie, his hopes for a better future, and his frustration with the worst parts of himself threaten his ability to survive in a harsh world that is only getting harsher.

George Milton Quotes in Of Mice and Men

The Of Mice and Men quotes below are all either spoken by George Milton or refer to George Milton. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Broken Plans Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of Of Mice and Men published in 1993.
Part 1 Quotes

Slowly, like a terrier who doesn't want to bring a ball to its master, Lennie approached, drew back, approached again.

Related Characters: George Milton, Lennie Small
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:
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“Well, we ain't got any,” George exploded. “Whatever we ain't got, that's what you want. God a'mighty, if I was alone I could live so easy. I could go get a job an' work, an' no trouble....An' whatta I got,” George went on furiously. “I got you! You can't keep a job and you lose me ever' job I get. Jus' keep me shovin' all over the country all the time. An' that ain't the worst. You get in trouble. You do bad things and I got to get you out.”

Related Characters: George Milton (speaker), Lennie Small
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

“Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don't belong no place. […] With us it ain't like that. We got a future.”

[…] Lennie broke in. “But not us! An’ why? Because...because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that's why.”

Related Characters: George Milton (speaker), Lennie Small (speaker)
Related Symbols: George and Lennie’s Farm
Page Number: 13-14
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

“Well,” said George, “we'll have a big vegetable patch and a rabbit hutch and chickens. And when it rains in the winter, we'll just say the hell with goin' to work, and we'll build up a fire in the stove and set around it an' listen to the rain comin' down on the roof.”

Related Characters: George Milton (speaker), Lennie Small
Related Symbols: George and Lennie’s Farm
Page Number: 14-15
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 2 Quotes

“Ain't many guys travel around together,” he mused. “I don't know why. Maybe ever'body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.”

Related Characters: Slim (speaker), George Milton, Lennie Small
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 3 Quotes

“S'pose they was a carnival or a circus come to town, or a ball game, or any damn thing." Old Candy nodded in appreciation of the idea. "We'd just go to her," George said. "We wouldn't ask nobody if we could. Jus' say, 'We'll go to her,' an' we would. Jus' milk the cow and sling some grain to the chickens an' go to her.”

Related Characters: George Milton (speaker), Candy
Related Symbols: George and Lennie’s Farm
Page Number: 60-61
Explanation and Analysis:
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“I oughtta of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn't oughtta of let no stranger shoot my dog.”

Related Characters: Candy (speaker), George Milton
Related Symbols: Candy’s Dog
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Part 5 Quotes

“I think I knowed from the very first. I think I knowed we'd never do her. He usta like to hear about it so much I got to thinking maybe we would.”

Related Characters: George Milton (speaker), Lennie Small
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Part 6 Quotes

“No, Lennie. I ain't mad. I never been mad, an' I ain't now. That's a thing I want ya to know.”

Related Characters: George Milton (speaker), Lennie Small
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

"Never you mind," said Slim. "A guy got to sometimes."

Related Characters: Slim (speaker), George Milton, Lennie Small, Slim
Related Symbols: Candy’s Dog
Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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George Milton Character Timeline in Of Mice and Men

The timeline below shows where the character George Milton appears in Of Mice and Men. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
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...the fires made by ranch hands and tramps who frequent the pool. The first man, George, is small, thin, and quick with “restless eyes.” His companion, Lennie, is a huge man... (full context)
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...to the edge of the pool and begins drinking from the surface in huge gulps. George reprimands Lennie for drinking the questionable water, reminding Lennie that he was sick from doing... (full context)
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George complains that they have had to walk over four miles in the heat after their... (full context)
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When Lennie keeps one of his hands in his pocket, George becomes suspicious and asks what Lennie’s holding onto. Lennie reluctantly tells George that he has... (full context)
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George tells Lennie that when they arrive at the ranch, Lennie is to keep his mouth... (full context)
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Dusk begins to fall, and George announces to Lennie that the two of them will stay by the river for the... (full context)
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Lennie runs off into the brush and comes back with some firewood. George tells Lennie to hand over the dead mouse he collected from the brush. Lennie reluctantly... (full context)
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Lennie begins crying. George tells Lennie to stop “blubberin’ like a baby,” and agrees to let him keep a... (full context)
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George starts heating up their supper of beans. Lennie says again that he likes beans with... (full context)
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George begins remembering aloud the incident that got them both kicked out of Weed. Lennie wanted... (full context)
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...wanting ketchup, and insists that even if there were ketchup, would give it all to George. He asks if he should go away and leave George alone. George apologizes for being... (full context)
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Lennie asks George to tell him “about the rabbits.” George says he doesn’t want to, but when Lennie... (full context)
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George continues spinning a story about how someday, he and Lennie will save up enough money... (full context)
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As the men eat more beans, George quizzes Lennie by asking him what he’s going to say tomorrow when the boss of... (full context)
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George tells Lennie to remember the spot they’re at right now. He urges Lennie to come... (full context)
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As the fire begins to die down, Lennie and George make small beds on the ground out of their bindles. As they drift off to... (full context)
Part 2
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George and Lennie arrive at the ranch. An old man named Candy, who is missing a... (full context)
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George spots a yellow can of insect poison above his allotted bunk and asks Candy whether... (full context)
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Candy tells George and Lennie again how angry the boss was that they didn’t arrive in time to... (full context)
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George asks more about “what kind of a guy” the boss is. Candy insists he’s “pretty... (full context)
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...flannel, and “high-heeled boots and spurs [which] prove he [is] not a laboring man” enters. George understands immediately that this man is the boss. The boss steps into the room and... (full context)
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The boss asks why Lennie doesn’t speak for himself. George insists Lennie isn’t a “talker,” but is “strong as a bull.” Lennie echoes George and... (full context)
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The boss is satisfied by this explanation but warns George not to try to pull anything over on him—he says he’s got his eyes on... (full context)
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After the boss leaves, George chastises Lennie for talking. Lennie apologizes, insisting he forgot to stay quiet. George orders Lennie... (full context)
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George goes to the front door and opens it—Candy is standing there with an old, blind,... (full context)
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...boss has gone to the cook house. Curley approaches Lennie and asks if he and George are the men the boss has been waiting on. George says they’ve just arrived, but... (full context)
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...if he loses that same fight, everyone will talk about how unfair the advantage was. George says that Curley had better watch himself—Lennie is big and strong, and “don’t know no... (full context)
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George and Candy sit down at the card table and begin shuffling up a deck. Candy... (full context)
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...to ready the wash basins for the men coming in from the fields. He asks George to keep their conversation confidential, and George promises he will. After Candy leaves, George warns... (full context)
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George hears someone calling for the stable hand. When he looks up into the doorway, he... (full context)
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After she’s gone, George calls Curley’s wife a tramp, but Lennie insists she’s “purty.” George warns Lennie never to... (full context)
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...grave, strong man with an “ageless face.” He sits down across the card table from George, who is lazily playing solitaire. He asks George if he and Lennie are the new... (full context)
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...large man with a big stomach comes into the bunk house. Slim introduces him to George and Lennie as Carlson. Carlson asks Slim whether his dog had her litter of puppies... (full context)
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Lennie excitedly asks George if he heard the men talking about the puppies, and if George can ask Slim... (full context)
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George and Lennie leave the bunk house as George confides in Lennie that he himself is... (full context)
Part 3
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That evening, after dinner and barley bucking in the fields, George and Slim return to the bunk house and sit together at the card table while... (full context)
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...how strange it is to see two men traveling and working alongside each other like George and the “cuckoo” Lennie do. George remarks that he himself isn’t so bright, either, and... (full context)
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George begins playing solitaire. He confesses to Slim that he doesn’t want to get rid of... (full context)
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...bunk house, breathless with joy over his new puppy, and lies down on his bed. George tells him he’s not allowed to have the puppy in the bunk house. Lennie insists... (full context)
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...and reminds Candy that he can have any puppy he wants. Candy does not reply. George asks if anyone wants to play some euchre, and Whit says he’ll play. After he... (full context)
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...it. Crooks warns Slim that the “big new guy” is “messin’ around” with the puppies. George tells Slim to kick Lennie out of the barn if he’s making trouble. (full context)
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After Slim and Crooks leave, Whit makes small talk with George about Curley’s wife, remarking on how “she got the eye goin’ all the time.” Whit... (full context)
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...says she hasn’t come by. Curley looks around the room and asks where Slim is. George says he’s at the barn, tending to his mule’s hoof. Curley blusters away. Whit says... (full context)
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George asks Lennie why he’s come back from the barn, and Lennie says Slim told him... (full context)
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Lennie asks George how long it will be until they get their piece of land. George says he... (full context)
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...intensely on the fantasy of raising—and petting—as many rabbits as he wants. Both Lennie and George are so lost in their reverie that when Candy speaks, they both jump. Candy asks... (full context)
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George is skeptical of Candy’s offer, and says he’d always conceived of himself and Lennie working... (full context)
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...Carlson, but Carlson accuses Curley of being “yella.” As tensions between the three men escalate, George realizes with a horror that Lennie is smiling and laughing—still lost in thoughts of their... (full context)
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George, angered by Curley’s attack on the vulnerable Lennie, urges Lennie to fight back. As Curley... (full context)
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Carlson takes Curley away to go to the doctor in town. George tells Lennie to wash his bloody face. Lennie asks George if he’s in trouble, and... (full context)
Part 4
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Crooks asks Lennie what he’d do if George never came back from town. Lennie insists George wouldn’t leave him—but at the same time... (full context)
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...wishing he had someone to talk to and draw comfort from, the way Lennie has George. (full context)
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...Lennie says that he is going to grow alfalfa for his rabbits when he and George have a farm of their own. Crooks calls Lennie “nuts” and tells him that every... (full context)
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...that Lennie will have moved on in a couple weeks’ time. Candy insists that he, George, and Lennie are going to work hard and get their land, but Crooks points out... (full context)
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...Curley’s wife said is true. A voice in the barn calls out for Lennie—it is George. Lennie calls back, and George appears in the doorway. He chides Lennie for bothering Crooks,... (full context)
Part 5
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...heavily. He talks to the puppy as he pets it. Lennie is worried that if George finds out he has killed the puppy, he won’t be allowed to tend rabbits in... (full context)
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...in his lap. As he sits stroking it some more, continuing to worry about what George will say and do when he finds out the pup is dead, Curley’s wife comes... (full context)
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Lennie grows quiet and repeats that if George catches him talking to Curley’s wife, he’ll be in trouble. Curley’s wife laments the fact... (full context)
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...horseshoe game echo in from outside, Lennie wonders aloud if he could avoid trouble with George by throwing the puppy away. If George doesn’t know about the dead puppy, Lennie reasons,... (full context)
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...struggling violently and writhing in the hay. Lennie begs her to stop yelling, or else George will be mad at both of them. When Curley’s wife doesn’t stop her muffled screams,... (full context)
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...though, he sees that she is dead. Horrified, he runs out of the barn, fetches George, and brings him back inside to see what’s happened. (full context)
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Candy and George stare in horror at Curley’s wife’s dead body. Both of them realize that Lennie is... (full context)
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Candy asks George if they’ll still be able to get their “little place.” George admits that all along,... (full context)
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George tells Candy that they need to devise a plan to keep George from looking suspicious.... (full context)
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...Slim, Whit, Curley, and Crooks all rush into the barn. Candy follows them, and then George arrives. Curley is furious, and vows to kill “the big son-of-a-bitch” before running from the... (full context)
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Slim asks George where Lennie might have gone—he seems sad at the prospect of hunting the man down... (full context)
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...stay with Curley’s wife, and Candy agrees to do so. All the other men, including George, follow Curley out of the barn. As the men’s footsteps recede and the light in... (full context)
Part 6
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...he’s finished, he hugs his knees to his chest and faces the trail, waiting for George. He is nervous that George will “give [him] hell,” and wonders aloud if he should... (full context)
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Aunt Clara reprimands Lennie for ignoring her advice, doing “bad things,” and pushing George away. Aunt Clara points out how patient and generous George has always been. Lennie says... (full context)
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...did tend. Lennie insists he’d be good at raising rabbits, but the rabbit retorts that George will never let Lennie do such a thing now, and will probably beat Lennie with... (full context)
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George comes crashing through the brush to find a hysterical Lennie screaming and rocking back and... (full context)
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Lennie asks George if George is going to give him hell like he always does when Lennie does... (full context)
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Lennie asks George to tell him again how the two of them are different from other ranchers. George... (full context)
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George begins telling Lennie about the “little place” they’ll soon have in a gentle voice. Behind... (full context)
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George hears the men’s footsteps coming nearer. He assures Lennie that they are going to go... (full context)
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George tosses the gun away from himself and stares down at his right hand, the one... (full context)
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Slim pulls George to his feet and tells him they should all have a drink. George robotically agrees.... (full context)