Of Mice And Men- Lennie

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Lennie is huge yet childlike

  • Lennie is 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--"He's jes' like a kid", "strong as a bull", "Lennie covered his face with his huge paws and bleated with terror"
  • Lennie's innocent--and asks lots of innocent questions--Slim instantly 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 "cuckoo", but George denies he's insane
  • He likes to stroke and "pet" soft things like mice and Curley's wife hair. He's like a child with a favourite blanket
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Lennie 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 one--"Lennie covered his face with his huge paws and bleated with terror"
  • 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 to its master"
  • George treats Lennie like a pet too--he orders him around and uses his strength get them jobs. In the end, he treats Lennie in the same way that Candy treats his dog--he shoots him in the back of the head for his own good
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Lennie is dependant on George

  • George has looked after Lennie since his Aunt Clara died
  • Lennie couldn't survive on his own. He may be animal-like but he wouldn't be able to survive alone in the wild
  • George and Lennie make a good partnership--George has the brains and Lennie has the strength
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Lennie is a killer...

  • Lennie is the most gentle character in the novel. But also the most destructive.
  • Lennie is violent--he attacks Curley and Curley's wife, kills mice and throws his dead puppy across the barn
  • It's fear that makes Lennie hold onto Curley's wife. When she first starts screaming and struggling against him, Lennie's "in panic", he cries "with fright"
  • Lennie's fear turns into anger--Steinbeck tells us twice that Lennie is "angry" with Curley's wife. He's so angry that he kills her
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The reader feels sorry for Lennie

  • Lennie isn't malicious (mean)--he doesn't want to cause pain. The reader can't help but feeling that it's not Lennie's fault when he hurts animals and people--it's George who tells him to "get" Curley and he kills the animals and Curley's wife because he can't control his own strength
  • George explains to Slim that when Curley attacked Lennie he was "jus' scairt", and he didn't know what to do. In Weed, Lennie held onto the girls dress because "that's the only thing that he can think to do"
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