Describe the characters and relationships in chapter one of

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Caitlin Williams 10N

Describe the characters and relationships in chapter one of “Of Mice and Men”

We are introduced to the two main characters in chapter one, not by their names, but by their descriptions. Steinbeck compares and contrasts the appearances and mentality of the two characters; they are both described as having similar clothes and they both carry blanket rolls, but otherwise they are more dissimilar than alike. They are dissimilar in size, for example Lennie is ‘a huge man, shapeless of face, with large pale eyes, with wide sloping shoulders’, while George is ‘small and quick, dark of face, with restless eyes and sharp, strong features’. Their difference in intelligence is hinted at when Steinbeck describes their reactions towards the pond; Lennie ‘walked heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws. His arms...hung loosely’ and he rushes to the pond and starts gulping down water immersing his whole head in the water.  George on the other hand approaches the water more cautiously wondering about the quality of the water first and whether the water is running before he takes a small sip to taste the water.

We see that George takes care of Lennie who is childlike in his ways; he keeps giving Lennie advice and instructions: : Don't say anything tomorrow when we get to the ranch; come back here if there is any trouble; don't drink the water before you check out its quality; don't touch dead animals.

George repeats these instructions as he has learnt from past experience that Lennie cannot remember them. He treats Lennie like a child carrying his work card for him not trusting him with it, knowing perhaps from past experience that he would lose it.

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We learn more about Lennie through his childish language, something that suggests his simple nature, and also when past incidents in Weed are recalled by George. We learn they are on the run from Weed after Lennie started stroking a girls dress in the same way that he is stroking the dead mouse he has inside his pocket. Lennie’s childlike nature is emphasised by the way he copies everything that George does. For example, when they are sitting around the pool at the beginning of the Chapter, Lennie watches George closely and imitates George exactly in the same way a ...

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