What is the importance of Slim in "Of Mice and Men"?

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The importance of Slim in Of Mice and Men

  Slim is a very significant character in Of Mice and Men. He is used by Steinbeck to portray the key themes of the 1930s in the novella. Throughout the novella Slim is seen as one of the more authoritative and friendly characters. His relationship with George and his kindness to Lennie clearly defines his character.

He is seen as a masculine figure with high amounts of authority over the other worker on the ranch. This is seen at the start of the novella where slim is introduced. Steinbeck says:

        “There was a gravity in his manner and a quiet so profound that all talk stopped when he spoke. His authority was so great that his word was taken on any subject, be it politics or love. “

This expresses that Slim is a character with significant amounts of power. Steinbeck uses the word gravity to highlight the huge amounts of power Slim has. It also elucidates at how he has a quiet dignity; he doesn’t need to state himself to show authority unlike Curley who was introduced before as an aggressive “pugnacious” man. Steinbeck purposefully describes Slim after Curley to show how different the men are. Also, Curley should theoretically have more as he has more money and he is the son of the owner of the ranch, however, the fact that Slim has more power shows how in the 1930s and after the 1919 Wall Street crash that money didn’t show power and that money was not important to have a high status during the Great Depression. This is further shown when Steinbeck uses the adverb “the” in the quotation, “This was Slim, the jerkline skinner.” The use of the adverb implies how god-like Slim is and how significant he is to the ranch.

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Furthermore, Slim is used to portray the qualities needed by men to show masculinity. “A tall man stood in the doorway.” The word “tall” is used to show one of the key features needed to be authoritative in 1930s America. The short sentence shows how his height is good enough to be authoritative. In 1930s discrimination was at an all-time high and people who were black, disabled or old were not good enough to be authoritative figures. Slim has all the qualities to be masculine and powerful. Slim has hands that are “large and lean” and they “were as ...

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