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Of Mice and Men: Characters
An itinerant farm worker and Lennie's friend and companion
He is intelligent; `small, dark and quick' but could be unhappy; `with restless eyes' and has a
strong personality; `sharp, strong features'
He is clean living; `What the hell kind of beds you giving us, anyways? We don't want no
He is modest; `I ain't nothing to scream about'
George is frightened of being lonely; `"I seen those guys that go around the ranches on their
own. That ain't no good".'
George is a good judge of character and can sense danger; `You keep away from Curley,
He has a sense of justice; `Get `im, Lennie'
George is heroic, since he kills Lennie because he knows that he could not live being in prison.
George is symbolic of the itinerant farm worker. His dream of a farm is one shared by many such
workers during the Great Depression; `Ever`body wants a little piece of lan''. Although he is clearly
superior to Lennie, and has great responsibility for him (which ultimately causes him to shoot Lennie),
their relationship is symbiotic. One of the major points which Steinbeck makes through the character
of George (as well as through Crooks) is that intelligence alone is often worth very little; George
provides the brain while Lennie provides the brawn. George is a very kind, caring and compassionate
man, particularly towards Lennie, but there are times when we can see that he longs for a normal life,
such as when he goes to Suzy's with the other men and when he says `When I think of all the things I
could do without you!'. His relationship with Lennie matures him throughout the novel, leading to the
Lennie Small travels with George and has a mind like a child; `He's jes' like a kid' but immense
strength `he's so strong'. The ultimate tragedy, which is why the end is so sad, is that his mind
has never learnt to control his huge body and so he is literally unaware of his actions
He is often compared to an animal in the novel; `the way a bear drags his paws', `bleated in
terror' `flapped his big hands helplessly'. This highlights his ultimate strength along with his
Lennie uses his strength when he is afraid, just as a child tends to grip something tightly when
they are afraid; `He was so scairt he couldn't let go of that dress.'
Lennie never means to do anyone any harm, he simply doesn't realize his own strength or
that what he is doing is wrong; `I didn't want no trouble'
Lennie has no moral judgement of his own; his idea of right and wrong is defined by what
George will think of them; `I shouldn't have did that. George'll be mad.'
Lennie has a childish intelligence, and knows exactly how to get his own way with George,
for example he says; `George, you want I should go away and leave you alone?'
Steinbeck describes Lennie more as an animal rather than as a child since they are completely
innocent; the quality which separates humans, even children, from animals is their capacity to act
within moral guidelines. Lennie is unable to do this. The only way Lennie can cope is in the
relationship, acting as a tame dog to George, but also possessing the qualities to protect himself and
George if he needs to and is told to do so.
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Crooks is the black stable hand, who as a `busted' spine, and is often treated in a way which
we would find unacceptable today; he is a victim of racial prejudice; `I ain't wanted in the
bunk house... Cause I'm black.'
Crooks is greatly intelligent; `He got books in his room.…read more
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He makes obscene allusions to his wife and regularly goes to the brothel on Saturday nights,
suggesting that he is sexually driven; `Curley says he's keeping that hand soft for his wife'
He is supremely selfish, and inadvertently brings about the death of Lennie, although he will
never accept this
Curley is representative of the social injustice of the great depression, since he `won't ever get
canned `cause his old man's the boss'.…read more