Of Mice and Men Characters

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Candy

  • old, lonely, isolated, worthless, physically disabled "useless one-handed character"
  • soft and kind-hearted shown through th elove and care for his dog, outcast character
  • Candy conveys the main theme of loneliness and isolation
  • loneliness = reduced to cleaning the bunkhouse after losing one of his hands, also because of his age, accepts what goes on and doesnt challenge anything - cant lose his job
  • isolated away from all characters and society because of his age, disabled 
  • lack of status = cant prevent his dog from getting shot 
  • harms no-one and always positive about others 
  • first to welcome George and Lennie and becomes friends with them
  • Carlson shoots his last possession and companion - the dog, showing he is frail and powerless
  • Candy wishes someone would shoot him as he feels worthless - devistation
  • Candy finds out about George and Lennie's dream and offers to put money towards it, still feeling like he has hope for the future - desperate man, although he gets refused
  • gets shown a lot of respect from other characters because of his age 
  • the shooting of his dog, foreshadows the end of the novel by hearing the gun shot 
  • important when he finds Curley's wife dead - being able to tell everyone, but only tells George first because of the dream, who then killed Lennie 
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Curley

  • "thin young man with a brown face, with brown eyes and a head of tightly curled hair"
  • the bosses son, a semi-professional boxer who tried to pick fights with guys who are bigger than him to prove his masculinity 
  • small guuy, wears high heels as he feels insecure about his height 
  • only one married, to a woman only known as "Curley's wife" - giving the impression she is Curley's possession as she isnt allowed to talk to anyone on the ranch 
  • doesn't listen to men on the ranch but takes opinions from Slim 
  • has a fight with Lennie and doesn't realise his strenght, Curley ends up with a crushed and broken hand, who gets blackmailed to say his hand got caught in a machine to keep his "tough guy" reputation
  • when Lennie kills Curley's wife, Curley sees this as an opportunity for revenge and goes and hunts for Lennie, leaving Geogre to to make an important decision to kill Lennie mercifully
  • rumour of wearing a glove full of vaseline to keep his hand soft for his wife 
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Curley's Wife

  • married to Curley and dont know her name 
  • young, pretty, wears attractive clothes and curles her hair
  • seems flirtatious and is always around the bunkhouse 
  • lonely as she has no-one to talk to and Curley isnt interested in her
  • doesn't like Curley - telling Lennie she only married him when she didn't get a letter she'd been promised to get into Hollywood 
  • very naive and gullable 
  • "What kinda harm am I doin' to you? Seems like they ain't none of they cares how I gotta live. I tell you I ain't used to livin' like this. I coulda made somethin' of myself."
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George

  • plays a lead role in the novel - migrant worker suffering from American Depression 
  • accompanied by Lennie, who is mentally disabled, so Geogre looks after him 
  • introduced as looking very simple dressed in denim, physically small with sharp features 
  • always thinking of how his life could have been better is he didnt have Lennie
  • he is very perceptive and can sense danger, he is a kind man and not looking for trouble 
  • must be responsible, level-headed and ready to deal with tragedy, he stays clear of danger 
  • main purpose is to look after Lennie, their friendship is important within the novel 
  • loving and devoted friend and has many responsibilities with Lennie, can be snappy and impatient at times but never abandons his protection over Lennie, acting like a father to Lennie
  • his behaviour is motivated by his future dreams, hoping they would come true 
  • George stays with Lennie so they both aren't lonely, a strong bond that cant be destroyed 
  • honest with people he trusts such as Slim
  • shares a dream with Lennie 
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Lennie

  • Steinbeck describes him like a child to make the reader sympathetic towards him 
  • clear that he is mentally disabled through the way he speaks and actions he makes 
  • described as a "huge man" with "wide sloping shoulders" and "shapeless of the face" - portrayed in an unattractive way, like an animal, readers sympathise towards him
  • unable to interact with the other ranch workers, Slim is first to notice his disability 
  • Lennie doesnt have the ability to learn or remember a lot = unable to live independently, needs someone to look after him and have his responsibility, unable to look after himself 
  • treated differently to others because of his childlike mind, cant communicate properly - lonely 
  • George gets frustrated with Lennie's actions throughout the novel and orders him around a lot. George is the closest thing to family Lennie has got 
  • limited intelligence so relies on George to look after him, copies everything George does and trusts him, can be very forgetful so George has to remind him 
  • likes to pet soft things such as puppies and Curley's wife's hair, resulting in him braking her neck and killing her 
  • very kind and gentle and wouldn't deliberately harm anything or anyone 
  • extremely strong, drinks like a horse and his hands are described as paws 
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Slim

  • introduced in a perculiar, mysterious way, "a tall man stood in the doorway"
  • described as having "the majesty only achieved by royalty and master craftsmen" - high status in the ranch, gaining respect from other ranch workers - "the prince of the ranch"
  • portrayed as intelligent, is kind and supportive, is able to talk to others, a good person / listener and has a calm and collected personality, easy to talk to 
  • other ranch workers look up to him "his word was taken on any subject, be it politics or love"
  • he brings order to the bunk house and keeps the workers under control 
  • "jerkline skinner" is excellent at his job , natural leader of the ranch, everyone looks up to him
  • understands the relationship between Lennie and George and reassures George he did the right thing to kill Lennie 
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Crooks

  • black stable buck, only permanent employee as he had an accident with his back - painful 
  • only black man around and is made isolated by his race and colour - unable to socialise
  • always called the "******" by other ranch workers - racism is taken for granted and dont mean to insult him every time they say it, he is very lonely and isolated as he has no-one
  • only mixes with others when they pitch horses 
  • has his own room and a few possessions, he has books - intelligence and concerned about his rights owning the Californian Civil Code 
  • accepts charity from anyone and displays terrible dignity when there are dreams of a farm 
  • he scares Lennie making up the thought of George leaving him 
  • prejudice within the ranch on all levels, loneliness and insecurity 
  • wants a place where he can have independence and security 
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