Of Mice and Men - character study of Slim
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English Coursework Of Mice and Men Of Mice and Men is set in California during the 1930s. This is an important time in US history because it was the time of the Great Depression, which did not end until the start of the Second World War. During this period of failed businesses, harsh poverty and long-term unemployment, many migrant workers came to California from other parts of America in search of work. The ranch workers in the book are all examples of people who have been affected by the Great Depression, as most of them are itinerant worker. One of them being Slim, who I am to be analysing from the book, to see what contribution and importance he makes in this Novel. Slim is described as a highly skilled mule driver and the acknowledged "prince" of the ranch. Steinbeck describes Slim in much greater detail than any other character, which indicates to us that he is a very important character in the novella. The description is also very unusual because the story just stops for a while as Slim is being described over two pages. He's the only character who seems to be at peace with himself. Steinbeck also describes him as something of a living legend "he moved with a majesty only achieved by royalty and master craftsmen". There was gravity in his manner and a quiet yet so profound, that all talk stopped when he spoke, as I he had mystical powers.
One of the most distinctive contributions Slim brings is when George confides in him about how he and Lennie travel round together. Slim is clever in the way he brings this topic up as he says '"funny how you an' him string along together". But he says it calmly and invitingly to George, also the tone Slim uses offers confidence to George to talk. Slim does not prey or resort to bullying tactics when extracting information about George's past, rather he exudes a "calm invitation to confidence". The effect of this is that George appears to feel comfortable and at ease, and he is able to expand his relationship with Lennie. George does not appear to hold back when describing the close and loving relationship he shares with Lennie. For example, George states, "Him and me was both born in Auburn. I knowed his Aunt Clara. When Aunt Clara died, Lennie just come along with me out workin'. Got kinda used to each other after a little while". . When George and Lennie arrive together at the bunkhouse people think it is strange for men to travel together. This shows that society is use to people travelling alone. So through Slim, Steinbeck uses him as a way of criticising society. With all of Slim's God-like features it is hard for us to understand why he is there at the ranch until this scene as it opens up the story a little bit more.
Slim's plan is important because I think that nobody else would have thought of it as they all stood in shock. Both of the characters use their authority differently. Curley has authority because he is the boss's son, while Slim has the friendship of all around him. Curley's uses his power to bully people but Slim has on certain occasions used his against Curley. This happens when Curley pesters Slim about where his wife is. Slim says, "you lay offa me." And Curley reply is, "I didn't mean nothing...I jus' thought you might of saw her." Curley is threatened by Slim because he does not know what Slim is capable of. Whit said, "Nobody knows what Slim can do." This shows that Slim has never lost his temper to the extent that it would end up in a brawl. This is an example of the wonderful power Slim possess in the ranch. Slim is quite unlike any other character in the novel. I feel that Steinbeck uses Slim to show the extent of the Great Depression. Slim comes across as being civilized and educated but as I have said earlier Slim is only a jerk line skinner and nothing more. We also get the impression that he will become nothing more. This shows that even characters of Slim's status could not find work. Through out the book it is made to sound that Slim is the hero where infact it is more so the case that he is not the hero everyone else is just a failure.
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