Ranch near Soledad California: 1930's
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- 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.
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- He is a small man, but has brains and a quick wit.
- 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 Lennie 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. 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.
3 of 9
- 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.
- 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.
4 of 9
- 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 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.
5 of 9
- 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.
- 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.
6 of 9
- Crooks is the black stable hand or buck.
- He is the only permanent employee at the ranch, since he injured his back in an accident. His back gives him constant pain.
- 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.
7 of 9
- Candy is the oldest ranch hand. He lost his right hand in an accident at work.
- 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.
- Carlson insists on shooting his dog because he claims it is too old and ill to be of any use. Candy is devastated.
- 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.
8 of 9
- Carlson typifies the men George describes as “the loneliest guys in the world”.
- He is outwardly friendly, but essentially selfish.
- He finds the smell of an old dog offensive so the dog must be shot. He has little regard for the feelings of the dog's owner.
- At the end of the novella, as Slim goes to buy George a drink, and comfort him, it is Carlson who says to Curley, “What the hell...is eatin' them two guys?”
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