In the opening of the extract, Steinbeck clearly conveys George’s temperamental nature when he is communicating with Lennie. The intensity of his parental role is compounded with frustrations caused by Lennie’s childlike persona, this aspect is displayed through the line “Whatever we ain’t got, that’s what you want.” The writer’s description of George as he ‘exploded’ defines the irritability felt toward Lennie’s lack of social awareness and compatibility. Throughout this extract it becomes progressively more evident that the ‘ketchup’ functions a trigger, which Steinbeck uses to initiate George’s explosive outburst. In turn, the character’s language is crafted to expose various aspects of grievance and dissatisfaction. The repetitive use of the word ‘an’ demonstrates the fast pace and emotional release which is used as George charges Lennie with the responsibility of being a hindrance. References to “I could live so easy”, “get a job an’ work” and “eat any place I want” present a strong antithesis to the reality of George’s reaction.
The third person narrator captures the authenticity of the resentment presented by George. The use of the adverb ‘furiously’ appropriately describes George’s exclamation. In addition to the use of the punctuation in the quote “An’ whatta I got…I got you!”, the declarative effectively conveys the characters disillusionment. Furthermore, Steinbeck’s repetitive use of the word ‘you’ when adopting the voice of George, intensifies the accusation of Lennie as the source of contention. Evidence such as “You lose me ever’ job I get”, “You do bad things” and “You keep me in hot water”, exemplify George’s intolerance of Lennie’s conduct. However, the writer’s forged impact of George’s powerful accusations explicitly adopt an alternative tone, Through the line ‘He took on the elaborate manner of little girls when they are mimicking one another.’, the omniscient narrator creatively insinuates a theatrical dimension of George’s character, which further reinforces his consumed aggravation toward Lennie. Conversely, in a similar way to the abrupt nature of George’s verbal attack, his retreat is also impactful and decisive.
In the description of the retreat the writer uses short sentences such as ‘His anger left him suddenly’ as if mimicking the speed of the anger’s departure through the length of his sentences. Short sentences are also put to use for emphasis, the ‘sudden’ change of conduct alters the mood dramatically. The voice of the writer then brings conviction, as the text states, ‘He looked across the fire at Lennie’s anguished face’. The language choice here is significant as the word ‘anguished’ carries a weighted, emotive quality which both stills and infiltrates the reader. Continued use of pertinent language such as George looked ‘ashamedly’, cleverly depicts the transparency of the character’s guilt toward the violate nature of his expression. Yet, the greater amusement belongs to Lennie’s childlike, instant neglect of George’s scorn, as he ‘crawled… cautiously’ to be near him. The reader observes George’s anger to be comprehensible, as Lennie’s repeated reference to the ‘Ketchup’ illustrates his lacking capacity to digest the greater issue that is work this is demonstrated through the quote “I was foolin’ George. I don’t want no ketchup.” Therefore, this episode in the novella clearly demonstrates the intellectual and social imbalance that is evident in the lives of the two main protagonists.