.. have nobody else to turn too. This all changes once the two characters get their jobs on the ranch together. George fits in very well with all of the other workers on the ranch and sees that for the first time in his life, he has a chance to live a typical life. He becomes almost infatuated with the idea of being able to have friends and not have to travel all over the place running from the trouble that Lennie has got them into.
As time goes by on the ranch where the two characters are working, George starts to become a little slack on looking out for Lennie. He knows that Lennie cannot take care of himself and that it is hard for him to stay out of trouble, but he still leaves him alone more than he has before. It seems that George’s priorities have been switched around and that he is more concerned with having a good time with the guys than he is about making sure that his life-long companion is safe and not getting himself into trouble on the ranch. This is shown rather clearly when George goes into town and leaves Lennie behind to do as he pleases. He is not worried about what kind of trouble Lennie may get in to; all he is thinking about is having the chance to go out with the guys and have a good time.
This is something that he could not have done in the past because he had to worry about Lennie and make sure that he was not going to get into any trouble that would endanger himself or George. For some reason he does not seem to worry about this when he makes the decision to leave. Is it because he is happy that Lennie is not going to be around him this time and that he can go and do as he pleases without having to have Lennie tag along and put George in an awkward position with the rest of his fellow workers? It seems that this is exactly what he is thinking when he totally disregards the idea that Lennie could make a mistake which would lead to dire consequences. Later in the story George once again puts his new found friends in front of the obligation to take care of his best friend in the entire world. While George is outside playing horseshoes with all of his coworkers from the ranch he lets Lennie wander around and do as he wishes, which he knows can lead to trouble. While outside having fun with the others he never even seems to worry about where his traveling partner is or what he is doing. George is preoccupied with his other life, the one spent away from Lennie and his responsibilities. When George finds out that his neglecting to supervise Lennie has led to a tragedy he never once blames himself.
If he would have been watching Lennie and taking care of him as he promised to do, none of this would have happened and nobody would be dead. Now, due to George’s lack of loyalty to Lennie and his promise to take care of him, Lennie is doomed to suffer the consequences of an action that could have been prevented had he not been left alone. George knows that the workers from the ranch will kill Lennie when they find him and gives only a half-hearted effort to try to persuade them from pursuing this act of destruction and murder. As the story closes, George, in a somewhat noble act of kindness, makes the effort to find Lennie before any of the workers from the ranch can. He has a choice to make after he finds Lennie: he can run away and hide as he has done in the past, therefore insuring the safety of his onetime closest companion, or he can take Lennie’s life himself.
Due to his lack of loyalty to Lennie and his selfishness he chooses to take Lennie’s life. It is significant to the story how George decides to kill his friend. He does not even give Lennie a chance to get away from his pursuers but instead he shoots him in the back of the head just like what had been done to Candy’s dog. After all of the loyalty and love that both of these creatures had given to their respective “friends”, both of the superior creatures decide that they don’t need them any more and choose to end the dominated creatures lives in a less than honorable manner. When given the chance to gain something that he wanted, George chose to alienate and kill his most loyal friend in the world in the same manner that dogs and other less than human creatures are disposed of when they are no longer needed. This display of George’s animalistic nature when presented the chance for advancement in life shows that loyalty, when put to the test, is never as strong as the person’s desire to achieve his own dreams. Although Steinbeck is not trying to say that you can never trust the people that you call your friends, he is saying to be careful of those who call you a friend but only think of themselves while saying it.
Even after spending the majority of his life calling Lennie a friend, George still betrayed him for the chance to become who he wanted to be. The animalistic nature of people tends to come out when they have the chance to seize what they believe is rightfully ours. So don’t trust everyone who can trust you because everyone has got an agenda in life that shows us where they want to be. If you stand in the way of obtaining their goal they may be likely to step over you to get to it. As George has showed us, the human trait of loyalty can become very weak if put through the test of time, so avoid trying to test it so that you may not end up as Lennie did, being treated no better than an old man’s dog.