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Lennie and George - Character study from Of Mice and Men

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Introduction

Of mice and men Samantha Foylan Two characters in the novel 'Of mice and men' who have particular problems in their lives are Lennie and George. John Steinbeck writes the novel. The novel is set in North California during the harsh depression years of 1930's America. There are several themes in the novel. For example: the loyalty that exists between George and Lennie; the hostile economic environment of America during the period in which the novel is set; the loneliness and isolation which each character experiences; and the dream of a better life. Two migrant agricultural labourers, George Milton and Lennie Small, start work at a ranch in Northern California, having left their previous jobs in a hurry, following accusations of attempted rape against the larger of the two men. It is George and Lennie's dream to save up enough money to buy a ranch. The unusual nature of George and Lennie's relationship raises suspicions amongst the other ranch hands, including the boss's son Curly. He is a bully and an ex-boxer and almost immediately provokes a fight with Lennie. ...read more.

Middle

Lennie does not know how to control his strength, so during a fight with Curly, Lennie crushes Curly's hand nearly killing him. It is Lennie's dream to own a family of rabbits but without George that is not possible because it is George that gets both of them work at various ranches. Lennie has a bad memory and needs to be reminded by George all the time, but he tries to remember: 'I tried not to forget. Honest to god I did, George'. Rabbits are all Lennie thinks about: 'to hell with them rabbits. That's all you ever can remember is them rabbits'. Another significant thing about Lennie is he imitates George: "Lennie, who had been watching, imitated George exactly. He pushed himself back, drew up his knees, embraced them, and looked over to George to see whether he had done it just right. He pulled his hat down a little over his eyes, the way George's hat was". The sense of touch is very important to Lennie because he likes to pet soft things. ...read more.

Conclusion

Slim can not read very well as he has not had a decent education: 'Slim read the magazine out loud slowly'. Slim has authority among the other ranch hands: 'Slim's opinions were law'. I feel the most sympathy for Lennie because he is vulnerable to danger and does not understand why he got into trouble for picking up a dead mouse and stroking it, the fact that he could not bring his puppy into the bunkhouse and why he got into trouble for touching a girl's red dress. Lennie is big and strong but has the mind of a child. Slim is popular among the workers and is top hand ranch. The use of figurative language by Steinbeck creates the atmosphere of reality. Steinbeck uses a non-standard form of English throughout the novel. The dialect is that of the itinerant worker. The use of dialect and colloquial language helps to add to the realism of the story and has a strong impact on the reader. The novel shows the impact of the American depression that the workers went through. It is not the sort of book I usually read but I found the novel interesting. ...read more.

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