This article examines the significance of Aristotle’s concept of philia in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, arguing for its crucial role in keeping the characters of George Milton and Lennie Small whole and stable. Because of their close relationship and despite their social and economic desperation, George and Lennie maintain a higher quality of life than the ranch men around them. This article draws on developments in queer and gender studies to analyze how Steinbeck’s representations of men’s friendships in Of Mice and Men explores and expands the definition of manhood during the 1930s.

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