- He has been a good friend to Lennie, ever since he promised Lennie's Aunt Clara that he would care for him. He looks after all Lennie's affairs, such as carrying his work card, and tries to steer him out of potential trouble.
- He needs Lennie as a friend, not only because Lennie's strength helps to get them both jobs, but so as not to be lonely. His threats to leave Lennie are not really serious. He is genuinely proud of Lennie.
- He shares a dream with Lennie to own a piece of land and is prepared to work hard to build up the money needed to buy it.
- He is honest with people he trusts. For example, he tells Slim that he used to play tricks on Lennie when they were young, but now feels guilty about it as Lennie nearly drowned.
1 of 7
- He is a big man, in contrast to his name.
- He has limited intelligence, so he relies on George to look after him. He copies George in everything George does and trusts George completely.
- "Behind him (George) walked his opposite ...
- He shares a dream with George to own a piece of land. Lennie's special job would be to tend the rabbits.
- He likes to pet soft things, like puppies and dead mice. We know this got him into trouble in Weed when he tried to feel a girl's soft red dress: she thought he was going to attack her.
- He can be forgetful - George continually has to remind him about important things.
- He is very gentle and kind, and would never harm anyone or anything deliberately.
- He is extremely strong
- He is often described as a child or an animal
2 of 7
- Slim is the jerkline skinner (lead mule-team driver) at the ranch. He is excellent at his job.
- He is the natural leader at the ranch. Everyone respects his views and looks up to him.
- He has a quiet dignity: he doesn't need to assert himself to have authority.
- "there was a gravity in his manner and a quiet so profound that all talked stopped when he spoke. His authority was so great that his word was taken on any subject, be it politics or love."
- He understands the relationship between George and Lennie. He helps George at the end and reassures George that he did the right thing.
- We know little else about him, which gives him a slightly mysterious quality. Do you think he is too good to be true?
3 of 7
- Curley is the boss's son, so he doesn't need to work like the ordinary ranch hands, and he has time to kill.
- He's little - so he hates big guys.
- He is a prize-fighter and looks for opportunities for a fight.
- "He glanced coldly at George and then at Lennie. His arms gradually bent at the elbows and his hands closed into fists. He stiffened and went into a slight crouch. His glance was at once calculating and pugnacious."
- He is newly-married and is very possessive of his wife - but he still visits brothels.
- There is a rumour that he wears a glove filled with Vaseline to keep his hand soft for his wife.
4 of 7
- She is newly married to Curley.
- We never know her name - she is merely Curley's 'property' with no individual identity.
- She is young, pretty, wears attractive clothes and curls her hair.
- She seems flirtatious and is always hanging around the bunk-house.
- She is lonely - there are no other women to talk to and Curley is not really interested in her.
- "What kinda harm am I doin' to you? Seems like they ain't none of them cares how I gotta live. I tell you I ain't used to livin' like this. I coulda made somethin' of myself."
- She doesn't like Curley - she tells Lennie that she only married him when she didn't receive a letter she'd been promised to get into Hollywood.
- She is naive.
5 of 7
- The only permanent employee, since he injured his back in an accident.
- He is the only black man around and is made to be isolated by his colour - he can't go into the bunk-house or socialise with the men.
- He is always called the '******' by the men, which shows how racism is taken for granted. The men don't mean to insult Crooks every time they call him this, but they never think to use his name
- All this has made him proud and aloof. He is lonely.
- "S'pose you didn't have nobody. S'pose you couldn't go into the bunk house and play rummy 'cause you were black... A guy needs somebody - to be near him... I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an' he gets sick."
- The only time he mixes with the ranch hands socially is when they pitch horseshoes - and then he beats everyone!
- He has his own room near the stables and has a few possessions. He has books, which show he is intelligent and an old copy of the California Civil Code, which suggests he is concerned about his rights.
6 of 7
- He is the 'swamper' - the man who cleans the bunkhouse. He knows he will be thrown out and put 'on the county' when he is too old to work.
- Because of this, he accepts what goes on and doesn't challenge anything: he can't afford to lose his job.
- He has a very old dog, which he has had from a pup. It is his only friend and companion.
- "The old man came slowly into the room. He had his broom in his hand. And at his heels there walked a drag-footed sheep dog, gray of muzzle, and with pale, blind old eyes."
- Carlson insists shoots the dog because it is too old to be of any use.
- He is lonely and isolated, but makes friends with George and Lennie and offers his compensation money to help them all to buy a ranch together and achieve their dream.
- When he finds Curley's wife dead, knows instantly that Lennie was involved and that they have lost their chance of achieving their dream.
7 of 7
Similar English Literature resources: