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"Perfect friendship is the friendship between men who are good and alike in virtue": Aristotle's view on the friendship between George and Lennie in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Humanities.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The main purpose of this essay is to analyze the relationship between the two main characters George and Lennie in John Steinbecks novella Of Mice and Men (1937) and determine what kind of relationship they share, how their relationship is built and whether they are genuine friends or not. The definition of friendship which will mainly be employed and used is the one defined and created by Aristotle and published in his work Nicomachean Ethics. In order for the analysis to be as precise and proper as possible, the questions of how and why will constantly be asked and answered throughout the analysis in order to operate and act as guidelines for the final conclusion. Besides Aristotle’s definition of friendship, the novella will be examined from a perspective with primary focus on the concept of friendship and it will also to some extent touch the field of interpersonal relationships. The concept will then be applied to the examination of their relationship and will only take the content of the novella itself into account. To assist the theory and provide with an extended view upon friendship, the works of Allan (Kinship and Friendship in Modern Britain: 1996), Lynch (Philosophy and Friendship: 2005), Spencer (Rethinking Friendship: Hidden solidarities today: 2006) and Pahl (On Friendship: 2000) will be applied.


      The conclusion derived from the analysis shows that it is possible to interpret their relationship differently depending on which aspect of their friendship one decides to highlight, but the aspect of George and Lennie’s unequal stature due to the Lennie’s mental disability is a fact impossible to not take into account. This aspect makes it impossible for them to be genuine friends, as their relationship becomes based on one person having more responsibility than the other, making their friendship non-genuine according to Aristole.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 23 p.
Keyword [en]
Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men, Interpersonal Relationships, Friendship, Aristotle
National Category
Specific Literatures
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-12112Archive number: HEU:C12:6OAI: diva2:534367
Subject / course
Educational program
Education – upper secondary school
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2012-06-21 Created: 2012-06-16 Last updated: 2012-07-09Bibliographically approved

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