The 'huge' Lennie Small, is George's companion and 'opposite'. Where George's face is 'dark', Lennie has 'pale eyes', perhaps implying that there is little of colour behind them; that he regards the world from a place that is plain and simple. (A nod here to Will Magnall for his contribution!)
George tells Whit how 'me an' Lennie's rollin' up a stake'. The dream George shares with Lennie is key to their relationship. George uses it to soothe Lennie in times of need and, later to connect with Candy. Look out for how Steinbeck sandwiches the dream between moments of 'trouble' (actual or foreshadowed) as if to suggest that the dream is doomed; that as Crooks points out, 'you won't get no land' because 'nobody never gets to heaven.' The dream softens George's reality to make it…
As Candy gives the 'lowdown' on Curley's wife, George sets out 'a solitaire lay'. 'Solitaire' is a card game for one, implying solitude or loneliness. It's no coincidence that after we're introduced to Curley's wife, the first connection's made between solitaire & George - ultimately it's her contribution that makes George a lone player in the game of life. References to 'solitaire' always follow a sowing of seeds of trouble to come, emphasising George's inevitable solitary status at the…
The boss, sceptical of two men travelling together for work, remarks that George must have a 'stake' in Lennie. In contemporary society, many took advantage of vulnerable adults, feigning friendships for their own financial gain. With George, however, his friendship is unconditional and he simply takes 'so much trouble for another guy' because he can. The suggestion of 'trouble' has a far-reaching implication - George takes the ultimate in 'trouble' for Lennie as events unfold.
'We got kinda used to each other ...' In a world where men travelled alone, George's throwaway remark encapsulates the friendship and loyalty he shares with Lennie. They've 'got each other', a fact that sets them apart from the other characters in the novel. Set against the contemporary hardship that made ranch workers the 'loneliest guys in the world', Steinbeck highlights the importance of friendship with George's comments.
George delays their arrival at the ranch to spend the night in the 'brush' where, 'tonight' he is 'gonna lay' and 'look up.' The word 'up' suggests the sky with its limitless sense of freedom, and because he appears to 'like it', we sense his need for temporary escape. The comma after 'tonight,' highlights that the moment, and therefore the feeling, will not last. Steinbeck therefore implies that George's sense of freedom, and the joy it brings, will be short-lived.
George is 'dark of face' and has 'restless eyes and sharp, strong features.' Steinbeck's description of George's face as 'dark', not only denotes a complexion touched by the sun, but might imply a sense of hopelessness or heaviness within George that shows on his face. Steinbeck uses light as a motif within the novel to suggest opportunity, fortune or hope; where there is darkness, the opposite is therefore implied.