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George: George is the story's main protagonist, a small, quick man with well-defined features. A migrant ranch worker, George dreams of one day saving enough money to buy his own place and be his own boss, living off of the land. The hindrance to his objective is his mentally handicapped companion, Lennie, with whom he has traveled and worked since Lennie's Aunt Clara, whom George knew, died. The majority of George's energy is devoted to looking after Lennie, whose blunders prevent George from working toward his dream, or even living the life of a normal rancher. Thus, George's conflict arises in Lennie, to whom he has the ties of long-time companionship that he so often yearns to break in order to live the life of which he dreams. This tension strains George into demonstrating various emotions, ranging from anger to patience to sadness to pride and to hope.

Lennie: George's companion, the source of the novel's conflict. Lennie, enormous, ungainly, and mentally slow, is George's polar opposite both mentally and physically. Lennie's ignorance and innocence and helplessness, his childish actions, such as his desire to pet soft things, contrast his physical bulk, making him likeable to readers. Although devoid of cruel intentions, Lennie's stupidity and carelessness cause him to unwittingly harm animals and people, which creates trouble for both him and George. Lennie is tirelessly devoted to George and delights in hearing him tell of the dream of having a farm, but he does not desire the dream of the American worker in the same way that George does. His understanding of George's dream is more childish and he grows excited at the possibility of tending the future rabbits, most likely because it will afford him a chance to pet their soft hides as much as he wishes. Nevertheless, a dream is a dream, different for everyone, and George and Lennie share the similar attribute of desiring what they haven't got. Lennie, however, is helpless to attain his dream, and remains a static character throughout, relying on George to fuel is hope and save him from trouble.

Candy: The old, one-handed swamper who is the first to befriend George and Lennie at Soledad. Humble and weary, Candy seems to be at the end of his line after Carlson shoots his last possession and companion, his old, blind dog. "When they can me here I wisht somebody'd shoot me" (66), Candy confesses to George and Lennie, hoping for a similar fate as his dog. But when he overhears the two talking of their little place, Candy offers…

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