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Describe the character of Lennie.

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?Of Mice and Men? is a novel written by the American author John Steinbeck and was published in 1937. It is set in the Great Depression of the 1930?s in the USA, and is based upon Steinbeck?s own experiences of wandering around the country during that time trying to find part-time work. It is a short story which focuses upon the relationship between its two central characters George Milton and Lennie Small, who travel around together. The relationship between this ill-matched couple is the key to the story. This essay concentrates upon the character and personality of one of couple, the ironically-named Lennie Small. When Lennie Small is first introduced at the start of the story, emerging from bushes, he is described as ?a huge man, shapeless of face, with large, pale eyes, with wide, sloping shoulders? who walks ?heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws?. He is the most interesting character in the novel because he physically differs from the other characters in many ways, being large, lumbering and clumsy - in many ways the opposite of George Milton, who is described as being ?small, and quick, dark of face, with restless eyes and sharp, strong features? and with ?slender arms, a thin and bony nose?. ...read more.


He is baby-like in that he cries when upset, but is also easily excited by simple things such as the prospect of having some rabbits to take care of. He likes to touch ?purty things?, such as the mouse, the puppy and Curley?s wife?s hair; be he proud of his strength but this strength is also his downfall, because it results in the deaths of these ?purty things?. Steinbeck also portrays Lennie as a violent man throughout the novel by making the character of Lennie unable to control his strength. He has so little control over his own strength that he accidentally kills his puppy, and then minutes later kills Curley's wife. ??a little dead puppy that lay in front of him?and then he put his huge hand and stroked it? this shows that Lennie lacks the understanding that his actions have consequences and he reveals an unintentional violence. He does not understand his own strength; he does not even think to fight back when Curley attacks him, but when he does it is with an immense and uncontrollable force, which makes him a danger to himself and those around him. Despite his naivety, Lennie knows that he does not fit in, for he says, "Well, I can go away, I'll go right off in the hills and find a cave." ...read more.


Tell about us. George: ...well, we ain't like that. We got a future.. Lennie: But not us, George, because I... see, I got you to look after me, but you got me to look after you.? From here we can see that Lennie needs George for basic survival; without him, Lennie?s life would not be very long. George on the other hand, needs Lennie for physical protection and a purpose in life. The sequence of things Lennie kills progresses from small (the mouse) to large (Curley?s wife). Eventually, the largest living thing, namely Lennie himself, is killed by George. In the tragic world of the novel, description and characterisation are used to prepare us for the inevitable turning point in the story (the death of Curley?s wife) and its sad ending. Despite being his murderer, George does this terrible deed out of love and friendship, not hate. We know that George really does care for Lennie as in the conclusion of the novel, George confesses that ?I ain?t angry, I never been angry?; this tells us he had not cared for him out of guilt or because of the promise that he made to Lennie?s Aunt Clara, but that he actually did like him. However, because of the unfortunate combination of Lennie?s physical size and mental immaturity, several mice, a puppy, and one woman pay the ultimate price. ...read more.

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