• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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.

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE John Steinbeck section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE John Steinbeck essays

  1. 'How does the novel Of Mice And Men reflect life in the 1930s'

    He takes control of everything from getting them both jobs to what they eat. He even speaks for Lennie, like when they arrive at the ranch they have to go and speak to the owner, before they go in George even tells Lennie not to speak, and any questions that Lennie does get asked George answers for him.

  2. Lennie Small from 'Of Mice and Men' by John Steinbeck - Character Study.

    Lennie says to George "I could go off on the hills there. Someplace I'd find a cave" (Pg. 12) He fails to understand how he would survive on his own. He's mentally slow as George refers to, "he's dumb as hell" (Pg.

  1. How does John Steinbeck use George as a symbol of good friendship in ...

    It is likely for not being around others for long periods of time can have some effect on personality. In fact, people with these cases have greater difficulty in taking certain risks, asserting themselves, initiate social contact, introduce themselves to others, and participate in-groups.

  2. Of Mice and Men

    Even when not directly compared with an animal, he is described in animal terms. For example, his hand is a paw. This is particularly appropriate for Lennie, as he frequently acts in the simple, natural way of an animal. As a final note, it is worth pointing out the significance

  1. Of Mice and Men

    There was gravity in his manner and a quiet so profound that all talk stopped when he spoke. . . His hatchet face was ageless. He might have been thirty-fice or fifty. HIs ear heard more than was said to him, and his slow speech had overtones not of thought, but of understanding beyond thought" (37).

  2. The story of 'Of Mice And Men' is about the journey of two itinerant ...

    Lennie is talking about is his Aunt Clara but doesn't remember that she is the lady who brought Lennie up as a child. The fact Lennie can't remember this might make him feel more lonely because he thinks that he has had no one all his life (except George).

  1. Explore John Steinbeck's presentation in Of Mice and Men of the culture and experience ...

    On the make-do shelves the workers had, 'articles, soap...talcum powder, razors and those western magazines that men love to read...and their medicines... little vials, combs; ...a few neck ties.' All simplicities, but they treat them like luxuries; they can not have anything more as they would not be able to carry it from place to place, as they worked.

  2. The Ostler by Wilkie Collins and 'Of Mice and Men' by John Steinbeck.

    The word in context is 'Whither had she gone?' the replacement for the word is 'where' and is not commonly used today. The word could be described as archaic. Sometimes, there are phrasings in the text that seem odd, and almost out of place.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work