Why is Lennie responsible for his own actions in "Of Mice And Men"?

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                        Of Mice and Men

          How Lennie is responsible for his own actions?

Throughout the novel ‘of Mice and Men’ John Steinbeck presents Lennie as a harmless giant, a huge, bear-like man whose hands are described as ‘paws’, strong ,slow witted ,loyal and innocent. Steinbeck presents Lennie physically as a huge character but with a child’s mind in a man’s body. But along with a childish innocence Steinbeck illustrates that Lennie can be devious, manipulative and responsible for his own actions and also shows how many times he is irresponsible due to his child like mind and not being able to understand like an adult would. Steinbeck shows how life was tough for working men in the 1930s especially for migrant workers like Lennie and particularly if they had such a limited ability as he had. The largely unskilled work that they did was seasonal in that they have to move from ranch to ranch as the work becomes available, so they never have a home and can have few possessions. Steinbeck illustrated how working men had to be responsible for their actions to be able to get a job, a house and even to get a family but this was very hard for men in those days. Many men travelled west to California ,thinking like George and Lennie in the novel, that they could pick up a cheap piece of land, start their own farm and live a better life but Steinbeck shows how Lennie was responsible in his aim  to achieve their dream but  becomes irresponsible towards the end of the novel following the tragic death of Curley’s wife .

Steinbeck begins and ends the novel by the pool in the river. Steinbeck compared Lennie to a bear in his initial description. Bears can be viewed as fluffy and comical, but it also suggests a hidden danger and unknown strength as bears can kill .Steinbeck illustrated how Lennie likes to stroke soft things, but inadvertently killed the mouse when he was stroking it because he could not control his own strength and had no idea what he had done to the little animals. The death of the mouse foreshadows death in future events. Before the arrival of George and Lennie, there is a sense of symmetry and much of the language is repeated, giving the novel a feeling of coming full circle. Within the novel Steinbeck showed that Lennie was doomed to fail within the setting of the novel using a cyclical structure painting a repeated theme of loss and death throughout the novel. We know from an early stage in the book that Lennie accidentally kills all of his little  pets that he loved including his mice, dogs , kittens etc but does so without really noticing what he has done until George has to tell him that he was the one that had  done something seriously wrong to his pets causing their deaths . Even after getting told off by George Lennie does not really understand the true  implications of what he has done and doesn’t   really comprehend  that he was the actual person that had killed them “ I pinched their heads a little and then they was dead because they was so  little“.  Lennie’s remorse was probably more about the anger that he had caused to George more than any  upset about the animals that had died at his hands .  

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Steinbeck symbolises danger by repeating the red dress which could suggest danger due to the girl in Weed with the red dress. Steinbeck exemplifies how Lennie was responsible for the death of the mouse and then his dog due to his physical strength but demonstrates that Lennie was unaware that such a tragedy could happen to these animals due to his own power by showing us how Lennie liked to pet soft things; this warned the reader and foreshadowed the danger to Curley’s wife particularly  when he demonstrated possible danger while he describing how he liked to pet her hair ...

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