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Lennie Small is the central character in the novel, 'Of Mice and Men'. The American John Steinbeck wrote the story about Ranch life in the 1930s.

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Introduction

Lennie Small Lennie Small is the central character in the novel, 'Of Mice and Men'. The American John Steinbeck wrote the story about Ranch life in the 1930s. Lennie is perhaps the most interesting character in the novel. He is likeable and even loveable, maybe because he himself is so keen to show affection. There is a huge part of Lennie that means no harm, however he is definitely not harmless. He is both villain and victim, caring and destructive. He is complicated, even contradictory. At the time the novel was published the American stock market on Wall Street crashed catastrophically. This led to a massive economic depression in the 1930s when increasing mechanisation was driving agricultural labourers off the land. California was filling with official and unofficial refugee camps. Drought and over-farming were reducing the amount of fertile land. This meant owners in Oklahoma and Arkansas were going bankrupt and banks were repossessing their land. Banks themselves were collapsing and all of it was worse if you were black. America was still a highly racist and segregated society. The American Dream was dead. Poverty and starvation stalked California and other stricken states. ...read more.

Middle

His Aunt Clara used to give him mice to play with. He is stubborn and very possessive over his animals, for example, over his mice, his puppy and his dream of tending his own rabbits. He never wants to let the animals we see him with out of his sight. But he is not very good at deceiving George - he knows whenever Lennie's got one hidden in his coat or in his pocket. Lennie is always on the lookout for a pet, a mouse, a rabbit, a puppy or maybe a 'purty' woman. Lennie loves tame and friendly animals, that's mostly what he is himself, tame and friendly. The mother of his new brown and white pup allows him to handle the others -'she don't care. She lets me.' Animals seem unusually comfortable and unthreatened by him. However, there is another side to this obsession with animals. He's also got a male animal's sex drive. This expresses itself in his desire to stroke soft things, the lady in Weeds dress and Curley's wife hair, for example. This seems sexual, but Lennie's not mature enough to understand it. In both cases, whatever the motivation, the consequences were very bad. ...read more.

Conclusion

According to George Lennie is not malicious but he 'don't know no rules. But Lennie has sudden fits of anger, like when he hurled the puppy across the barn and he killed it. This suggests Lennie is not quite as innocent and blameless as George says he is. People pick on Lennie because he is stupid. Curley picks on him from the moment they meet. As does the boss, Curley's wife and Crooks. His stupidity gets in him constant trouble. Because he can't think for himself, he lives by his senses. That's partly where the stroking comes in. he knows it feels nice, he doesn't wonder why, he just does it. In the novel names are often symbolic. Steinbeck uses names to drop hints about the characters. Lennie's surname is Small. Carlson makes a joke about it. But although he is huge height-wise, Lennie is fairly small in the brains department, so in a way it is not so ironic. Lennie is a complex, contradictory character. He is a large stupid, violent, strong, childish man who is very animal like. He always travels with George, he may be big and strong but it is very clear he is very slow. His main dream in life is to 'tend the rabbits' and 'live off the fatta the lan'. Laura Mullinger 10Q Page 1 of 5 ...read more.

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