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What contribution does Slim make to 'Of Mice and Men'?

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Ravi Aggarwal GCSE English Coursework What contribution does Slim make to '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 workers. It is unclear in the novel whether Slim is an itinerant worker but he does not seem to be one as it seems that he has been at the ranch a long time because all the ranch hands have respect for him. They also have respect for him because he is also such a good skinner. Slim first appears in the novel with a very long description by Steinbeck. 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. ...read more.


This shows Slim out to be a caring person who only looks at the best in a person. The benefit of having Slim as a confessor for the ranch hands is that they have a leader who they feel comfortable with and who can help them with any problems. Most of the time during the novella Curley obeys Slim and even seems a little frightened of him when Curley thinks that Slim is with his wife in the barn. The only time in the novella when one of Slim's 'plans' do not work is when Slim says "Curley - maybe you better stay with your wife" to him to try and persuade him to stay with his wife after she has just died. At the end of the novella, after George has shot Lennie, Slim immediately realises the situation George was in and why he did what he did because he immediately knows it was George who shot the gun when he hears it, "George. Where you at, George?" He understands how much it must have hurt George to do that. This shows that he is sensitive to other people's feelings and thinks about other people unlike other people on the ranch such as Carlson who does not understand why George is upset after shooting Lennie because he does not understand how two people can stick together like George and Lennie did. ...read more.


In all Slim would be a believable character because in the world there are genuinely nice people but the one thing that does make him slightly unbelievable is the initial description of him by Steinbeck. In this introduction of him it is said that "his ear heard more than was said to him, and his slow speech had overtones not of thought but of understanding beyond thought." This seems impossible to us that anyone can do this so seems unbelievable that if it is true he would be working in a ranch in California along with people like Candy, Carlson and Whit. In the Gary Sinise production of the film of "Of Mice and Men" Slim seems more believable because the advantage of the film version is that it does not need to stop the film and give the description and so it is easier to show his personality through the things that he does and says. This makes the character Slim more realistic and believable. The point of Slim in this novella is probably to show that there are still some dignified people who are out working on the ranches as itinerant workers and they have not turned to be people who only care about themselves and like the people who George tells Lennie that they are not i.e. the people who work for a month and then blow all their money at the end of the month in a cat house. Of Mice and Men would be a very bleak story without the presence of the humanitarian, Slim. ...read more.

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