Slim is a "jerkline skinner" on the ranch. He is seen as the leading worker on the ranch.
Slim gets a lot of respect from all the characters of the ranch; "his words were taken on any sbject" He is described as the "prince of the ranch" and has lots of "authority"
Slim has an "understanding beyond thought"; thats why he understands George and Lennies relationship- the only one that does.
There "was gravity in his manner.. all talk stopped when he spoke"- power and importance. He is described as "Godlike" and seems to be the real leader.
Slim is the only character who reffers to Crooks by his name, rather then as "stable buck" or "******" this shows he has equal respect for the men of the ranch. He treats Crooks fair and equally in a polite manner. Slim appears to be the only character with a real conscience of right and wrong; why the men trust his judgment.
Curley is very conscieous about the fact Slim attracts his wife; he is strong and nice, therefore she is attracted to him, despite the fact he is aware of this and doesnt give her the time of day. Curley is very suspicous.
George is an itinerant farm worker; travelling from job to job for work. He is reasonably smart and finds lots of work.
He is a very realistic charater and enjoys what he has. Even when George tells Lennie off, the reader feels sympathy fr George becuase Steinbeck makes it clear its only for his own good. The reader links to George's character.
George is "smal and quick, dark of face, with restless eyes and sharp, strong features" This suggests his intellegance, and restless eyes reflects his responsibility; he is very aware and sharp. It also reflects some unhappiness.
George is a modest character "I aint got nothing to scream about, but Lennie there can put up more grain alone then most pairs can"- this also suggests why they make a good team and stick together for work.
George is a caring but also frightened of being lonely; "I aint got no people" He is aware of others "I have seen the guys that go around ranches on their own. That aint no good. They dont have no fun. After a long time they get mean"
George has a good judge of character and can sense danger easily. "You keep away from Curley, Lennie" He is good at reading poeple; As soon as Curley picks on Lennie he knows his character; he is afraid Curley will "tangle with the *******" He also doesnt like Curleys wife; he says "i've seen 'em poison before" and warns Lennie to stay away from hersensing she will cause trouble. He also senses he can trust Slim and quickly doesand tells him what happened in weed. "You wouldn't tell... No, corse you wouldnt"- he knows.
He can get aggressive. When Candy started involving himself in their dream, he was defensive "You got nothin to do with us"... His dislike of Curley also encourages Lennie to fight bad, despite the fact it could have lead him to trouble. George even snaps at Slim when he suggests its unusual they travel together and questions why. When he is fustrated he is agressive towardsLennie. The fact George relates to the idea characters "get mean" suggests he has been close to this when he is lonely and his friendship with Lennie is all that stops this.
The dream is the thing that keeps George going; this crash of the dream when Lennie dies ends the play; showing it wont be achieved. George simply wishes to control his own destiny; having his own land to live off. He recited the dream to Lennie but enjoys it himself, "entranced"
George and Lennies relationship
George watches out for Lennie making sure he doesnt get in trouble; like he did in weed. They stick together moving around and working together as a companionship. George is loyal to Lennie "I want you to stay with me Lennie". Lennie relies of Goerge for everything. Lennie tooks up to George as a father figure and George treats him with care and patience as if he is one.
Lennie looks up to George in a fatherlike way; he copies everything George does and despite not remembering anything else, he remembers everything George says to him. He repeats the name "George, everytime he speaks to him, as though he admires him and is looking for reassurance.
George wasnt always good to Lennie (pushed him in the lake), he calls him a "crazy *******" and apeaks of leaving him.. but never follows the threats through. He is protective and cares for Lennie "I aint gunna let 'em hurt you Lennie" Even when George has to shoot Lennie, he does it in a nice way, saving Lennie from pain. They make a good partnership; George has brains, Lennie has strength.
Lennie enables George to dream and provides him company in these lonely times. When Lennie dies at the end, George is free but not happy; he has lost his friend and is now lonely.
Lennie is a huge grown man, however he is still childlike; he likes to "pet" soft things like mice and Curleys wifes hair. He relies on George to do everything for him. He is referred to as "dum-dum" by Curleys wife and "cooko" by Slim, but George denies he is insane. He "strong as a bull" and brilliant for labour but still innocent. Lennie is not mean. He doesnt intend to hurt anyone Ddescribed as animal like- "Lennie covered his face with his huge paws and bleated with terror"
Lennie is identifies by through animals; he looks like a bear- walking dragging his feat; "the way a bear drags his paws" he also eats and drinks like a hungry animal. He is possesive over animals. Lennie is like Georges pet or son, following him around and relying on him for food, also obeying him; like at the pool when he brought George the mouse "like a terrior who doesnt bring a ball to his master" George treates him this way too- ordering him around to do jobs for him and get him workusing his strength. He kills Lennie the way Candy killed his dog; shooting him in the back of the head for his own good.
Lennie does have moments of cleverness; he uses the fact George would feel guilty about leaving him to get his own way- when George is unkind to him he suggests just leaving threatening to find a cave. This makes George tell the story about the farm. He says "an' I wont get no mice stolen form me" He also understands George sacrafices lots and does a lot for him.
Lennie is the gentlest character in the book- he is not agressive or mean but he cannot control his strength. He is the killer in the book; he killed the mice, the dog and Curleys wife. He is destructive when he gets violent. Its his fear that makes him pannic; he doesnt understand the situations around him; this fear turns to anger. Lennies danger developes throughout the play; first mice then the dog, then hurting Curley, then killing his wife.
Throughout the novel, the reader feels sorry for Lennie , he isnt malicious; its not Lennies fault. "I didnt mean no trouble" Slim; the wisest most trustworthy character says he doesnt think he is mean.
"Com on Goerge. Tell me. Please, Goerge, like you done beofre"; he delights in his and Georges dream of a farm and adores George.
Lennies childlikeness is also reflected when he blames the animals for their own death; denying responsibility "why d'you got to get killed? You aint so little as mice. I didnt bounce you hard"
We learn that he cannot control himself "I done a real bad thing. "I souldnt have did that. George'll be mad"- he has no maral judgement. Things are either good or bad depending on Goerges judgement. Simplistic dialogue is used to show his childlike character.
Crooks is different because he is black. He is the only character with his own room; it is small and basic but functional; homely and his own. He is the "stable buck of the ranch" he has a "busted" (bent) spine. The characters(besides Slim) reffer to him as "******" In his room he had a few books showing he is educated.He is a victim of racism and reflects the context of the play; racist times. "******" was a common term in those days. He is a victim of racism and not welcomed by the other men on the ranch; lonliness is reflected strongly through his character. He is excluded from the bunk house becuase the others say he "smells"- he pretends it doesnt affect him but eventually opens up to Lennie saying "a guy needs somebody- to be near him" Lonliness makes him bitter and is jealous of George and Lennies relationship; enjoying being mean to lennie at first.
He is a survivor but has little power or respect. He is good at his job and is the best man at the game horseshoe on the ranch. He also wants to be part of the dream becuase it gives him more dignity then he has at the time. The dream gave Crooks courage to stand up to Curleys wife, however this confidence was fragile.
"Nice fella too"..."the boss gives him hell" despite the fact he is a nice guy and intelegant, the boss still hates him. He is a "proud aloof man" despite the fact he is lonely and victimised.. "his eyes... seemed to glitter with intensity.. he had thin, pained lips" his life was dominated by painbut managed to rise above it.
Candy is an old man of the ranch. His story is almost as sad a Crooks' He is a "tall, stoopshouldered old man"- his age and physical weakness are apparent from the beginning.
He is described through his dog. His relationship with the dog is simular to George and Lennies relationshi; an antidote to loneliness.
He seems harmless and is friendly to George and Lennie, however he is a gossip and is harsh to Curleys wife, calling her a "God damn tramp" becuase she made his plans for the dream impossible.
Candy is old and weak; he is frail as he lost his hand on a machine. He gets "gut ache" he has the least respected job- the "swamper"(cleaner)
He tries to kid himself; he is quick to be seduced by George and Lennies dream- offering them all his money even though he only has known them for one day.
He wants to own something cencreate- this aspect of owning something (linked to american dream) explains why he wants his own job- not one of slims.
Carlson and Whit
Carlson is an insensitive character on the ranch. he is a "powerful, big stomached man"
He objects to the smell of Candys dog and persuades him to have it shot. He shoots it himself. He doesnt consider anyones feelings and doesnt consider the emotional attachment between Candy and his dog.
After shooting the dog he simply cleans his gun; he doesnt appologise to Candy. He also doesnt understand why Geoerge and Slim are upset at the end of the novel he sees Lennies death as practical not emotional.
He is quick to pick a fight with Curley; calling him "yella as a frog belly" and a "God damn punk"
Whit is a young man destined for a life on the ranch- he is a funny guy. He is not bitter but it is suggested he will turn out like Candy. He plays cards with George but looses interest in the game, suggesting he is desperate for companionship.
He appears doomed to ranch life and is already wasting his money on girls and drink.
No one likes Curley. He holds a strong position on the ranch. He is the bosses son and is young and ftand is married to an attractive woman. However he gets no respect from anyone so gets lonely.
He wears "high heeled boots"- he is small, this shows he is insecure about his size; partly why he picks on Lennie. They show he is in charge and isnt a worker.
He is very jumpy. Candy calls him "handy" implying he fights well. He is good at fighting and likes to show off his skills. His insecurity about his wife is shown "You seen a girl around here?" he is always looking for her and picking fights with the wrong men. he "alla time picking scraps with big guys" "He's mad at 'em becuase he aint the big guy"
He is isolated; none of the men on the ranch like him, neither does his wife.
He is not happily married and his wife admits she doesnt like him "He aint a nice fella" She used him to get away from her mother. Even when she is dead he doesnt touch her or show remorse. He simply wants to kill Lennie. He doesnt really care about her, he is just mad something that belonged to him was taken away from him.
Curley's Wife is quite an important character in the novel. She is labled with no name, just referred to as "curleys Wife" this shows the men on the ranch dont have very much respect for her. On the ranch she does not have an equal status; the men just see her as trouble and the little respect given to her reprisents the sexist views in America at this time.
The first time we meet her, she is described as " a girl", suggesting innocence. She wore a "cotton house dress and red mules" she was also heavily made up with red lips and nails. These colours are seductive **** colours and the way her posture was against the door matched this... It is implied that she is trying to catch the attention of the men. These are also very dramatic colours; this reflects her dream of becoming an actress. However she is never noticed approching a room. This suggests the men dont notice her, they dont care about her and she doesnt ever have an affect on them. She also always stands in door ways, suggesting a lack in confidence and an insecurity.
The reader is lead to think she is no good and floosey becuase all the men warn George and Lennie away from her, they also **** her off. "I think Curleys married a... tart" The reader is also told the gives all the men "the eye"
However Steinbeck makes the reader feel slightly sorry for curley becuase although she
is bitter towards Crooks and is seen to cause trouble, she is always "looking for Curley" and asking where he is... This is a call for attention of the men but also shows that she is just married and should be spending lots of time with her husband, however they arent ever seen together.
Her manner and posture is provocative and ****; "her body was thrown forwards" , as though she wants the men to look at her and her figure. This also implied she doesnt get enough attention from Curley.
Slim is the only one who shows Curleys wife any kindness... He says "hey good lookin" and is playful, however Curley is always suspicious of Slim doing more then that.
"Jesus, what a tramp"- George uses what everyone else has said to draw his own opinion, he says this as though he has seen women just like her before who like to cause trouble. "wide spaced eyes" suggests innocence. She is seen as ********. She is also vindictive and Cruel to Crooks; "you know what I can do to you if you open your trap"
At the end she is described as "pretty and simple, and her face was sweet and young" this suggests that she isnt really evil and the punishment she faced was far worse then anything she had ever done.