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Character profile- Lennie
Lennie's a likeable, even loveable character- maybe because he's so keen to show
affection himself. But he's not harmless. He's both villain and victim, caring and
destructive. He's complicated, to say the least.
He's a huge, grown man- but also very childlike
He's a powerful man with huge hands- this makes him a brilliant farm labourer
He's grown up physically, but mentally he's still like a child
Lennie's innocent- and asks lots of innocent questions. Slim immediately sees
that Lennie "ain't mean".
Lennie's condition is never explained. He's called a "dum-dum" by Curley's wife and
Slim thinks he's a "cuckoo", but George denies that he's insane.
He likes to stroke and "pet" soft things like mice and Curley's wife's hair. He's like a
child with a favourite blanket or a stuffed toy.
He identifies with animals
He looks like a bear, and walks like one- he drags his feet "the way a bear drags his
paws". He also eats and drinks like a hungry animal.
He's very possessive over his animals. He never wants to let them out of his sight-
he's like a child with a favourite toy.
Lennie's a bit like George's pet. He follows George around and relies on him for
food. He also obeys George- at the pool he brings George the mouse "like a terrier
who doesn't want to bring a ball back to its master."
George treats Lennie like a pet too- he orders him around and uses his strength to
get them jobs. In the end, he treats Lennie in the same way that Cansy treats his
dog- he shoots him in the head for his own good.
o Childlike: "He's jes' like a kid"
o Strong: "Strong as a bull."
o Like an animal: "Lennie covered his face with his huge paws and bleated
He's dependent of George in both body and mind
George has looked after Lennie since Lennie's Aunt Clara died.
Lennie couldn't survive in his own. He may be animal-like, but unlike an animal he
wouldn't be able to survive alone in the wild
But Lennie does have one practical skill- he's a good worker. Slim says "There ain't
nobody that can keep up with him." This is very useful for George because it helps
them get work.
George and Lennie make a good partnership- George has the brains and Lennie
has the strength.
Lennie has moments of cleverness
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Lennie knows that George would feel guilty about leaving him and he uses this to
get his own way.
For example, when George is unkind to him in chapter one, he threatens to go and
"find a cave". When George persuades him not to, Lennie yses his "advantage" to
get George to tell him about their dream farm.
Sometimes he seems intelligent enough to realise how much George sacrifices to
look after him.…read more