The Brush by the Salinas River is one of the most important locations in the entire novel. Steinbeck creates a beautiful and natural setting by his use of figurative language. “Willows fresh and green with every spring” and “leaves lie deep and so crisp” create an image in the mind of the reader that evokes a calm and peaceful mood. Steinbeck then uses the setting to introduce the two main protagonists. The arrival of the protagonists interrupts the harmony of the river bank, but before any sign of them is visible or within earshot, the birds fly away, the rabbits scatter, and all the other animals flee the area. This lets us know that something or someone is coming. Steinbeck introduces to the two main protagonists.
They are the described identically but it is not until Steinbeck describes their different features that we learn their differences .We don’t know their names until the dialogue starts. Through their dialogue we learn that the larger man is Lennie and the smaller man is George. Both physically and character wise, George and Lennie are completely different, almost exact opposites. Lennie is not very bright, and acts like a big baby. He likes to pet soft things, he throws tantrums once in a while, and when he senses his advantage in an argument he takes that opportunity and is whiny, immature, and unrealistic about the situation. “If you don’ want me I can go off in the hills an’ find a cave. I can go away any time.”
George, on the other hand, is very mature, and although he gets angry and frustrated with Lennie sometimes, he always ends up feeling sorry that he was mean, and apologizes sadly. “I been mean, ain’t I?” George and Lennie are very close friends, they travel together, they stick together, and they look after each other. George and Lennie have a dream, one that they’ve had for apparently quite some time. George and Lennie want to own and live in a little house of their own, with animals and vegetables and fires for the winter. They want to have their dream house, a place where they can live on their own, without worrying about anyone or anything. Steinbeck creates a setting of this dream which is used as motivation for George and Lennie but more specifically for George to keep Lennie safe. The dream links with the American Dream, what they aspire is only a microcosm of the American Dream. The whole setting of the dream is so minimal that is really nothing like the American Dream.