The Character Of Lennie In Of Mice And Men

944 words - 4 pages

The Character of Lennie in Of Mice and Men

In my opinion, Lennie Small is the most interesting character in Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men. Steinbeck does a very good job describing and characterizing Lennie's personality. Lennie's character is, indeed, quite unique. A large man with enormous strength, yet kind and childlike, he seems to find joy in simple life pleasures like petting a furry animal and making the water ripple. Lennie's greatest difficulty seems to be remembering; and it is the lack of the ability to remember that ultimately leads to his tragedy at the end of the book. In the novel, Steinbeck seems to reinforce Lennie's characteristics of strength, kindness, childlike manner, and somewhat animal-like personality. In this paper, I will focus on these characteristics.
Strength
Even though Lennie's last name is Small, he is, physically, just the opposite: a large man with great strength. This strength is represented numerous times throughout the novel. We first read about Lennie's strength in the opening scene, when Lennie accidentally kills the pet mouse in his pocket by petting it too hard. We also learn that, in fact, Lennie has killed other pets in the same manner in the past.
Lennie's strength is also mentioned when the two men search for jobs. In fact, it seems that Lennie's physical characteristics (size and power) serve as somewhat of an advantage when the two men come to the farm. Specifically, in George's dialogue with the boss on the farm, George points out Lennie's ability. "He is strong as a ball," he says.
Lastly, throughout the novel, other characters witness Lennie's strength as well. Slim, for instance, is quite amazed by Lennie's strength. "I've never seem such a worker," says Slim. "He damn near killed his partner bukin' barley. There ain't nobody can keep up with him. God almighty, I never seen such a strong guy".
Childlike
Lennie's character exhibits a rather childlike manner. He seems to do and see things like a child. His pleasures are those of an innocent youngster. For example, in the first chapter, he delights in making the water ripple, and he is content to pet a dead mouse.
In addition, Lennie's childlike manner is portrayed in his dependency on George. He listens to everything George tells him and depends on him for necessities such as food and water. In fact, it seems that without George Lennie would be unable to survive.
Animal-Like
It seems that Lennie often resembles an animal. In fact, his responses to life are much like those of an animal. For example, like a pet dog, he gives his complete devotion to...

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