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Lennie Small ‘Of mice and Men’

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Steinbeck uses many different descriptions of Lennie Small in the novella. Often compared to animals, one of the first descriptions of him is him being compared to a bear. ‘He was dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws’, is a line which portrays an image of how physically large Lennie is while also suggesting the extent of his strength. Lennie is also described to be ‘shapeless of face, with large, pale eyes’ which compares easily to a small innocent child who doesn’t understand his surroundings.

The imagery created in this scene begins to imply that Lennie, even though a grown man, does not have a mind of his own, almost childlike, while always having someone to direct him through life. Despite his age, Lennie acts and speaks with immaturity due a mental disability. ‘Slowly like a terrier, who doesn’t want to bring a ball back to his master’ is a line Steinbeck wrote to emphasise Lennie’s immature personality.

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By comparing him to a terrier he becomes viewed as irrational with a very instinctive side to him.

Curley is one of ‘Of Mice and Men’s’ major characters. Although he does not appear to hold a central role, he is very important in other respects.. Curley is disliked by pretty much everyone on the ranch, and with good reason. George immediately dislikes his hostility, and shows the same attitude in return. He himself says “I hate that kind of a guy” as soon as he has and warns Lennie to “have nothing to do with him”. Even Curley’s own wife dislikes him, sarcastically saying “swell guy, ain’t he” when told to talk to him by Candy. Furthermore, Candy, although not directly airing his dislike mentions the he is “handy. God damn handy.” The way in which Candy says this hints towards his dislike for Candy being on account of his aggressive nature and hostility, rather than simply being due to his nastiness.

His desire to fight with people all the time shows two things. Firstly, it shows inferiority complex: Curley is short, and therefore is constantly trying to be better than “big guys”. Secondly, it shows his aggression. Curley holds a fighting stance when he first encounters George and Lennie: “his arms gradually bent at the elbows and his hands closed into fists. He stiffened and went into a slight crouch.” According to Candy, Curley is an amateur boxer and is always picking fights, especially with guys who are bigger than he is. Ultimately, Curley is trying to prove his masculinity.

Throughout the novel Steinbeck presents the character of Curley’s wife in a number of ways. Initially he tells us that she is a beautiful girl who is lonely and she is the only female on the ranch. Steinbeck explains that she is presented as a sexual object for Curly. Even though she is the boss’s son’s wife she is still low in the hierarchy within the ranch. She clearly uses her sexuality as a weapon and is seen as a sexual predator. This is shown as she wears a lot of red and ostrich feathers. The red signals love, danger and sex. Unfortunately her sexuality has no impact on the farm because everyone is scared of being friendly or seen with her due to her husband’s power. She is flirtatious ‘you guys seen Curly anywhere?’ She asks this just to be able to enter the stable to be with the men and this is used a decoy to get her to be able to socialise with the men.

Stein beck is giving the reader a negative image of her, almost as a sex slave. We see this negativity in other character’s description of her: George states she is a ‘rattrap and a tramp’ , Lennie calls her ‘ purdy’, Candy states ‘ well that gloves full of Vaseline’ this refers to the idea that Curley wife is merely viewed by all as an object of sexual desire yet men are wary of her and avoid contact where possible. She seeks out greater weaknesses in others in order to protect herself or to survive. This she does with her appearance: ‘full rough lips, heavily made up eyes, finger nails red, her hair hung in little clusters’ . Her choices of clothes are very feminine and tempting desire. She wants to be admired and noticed. Her actions and mannerisms are also very sexual ‘leans against the door frame so her body is thrown forward.’ Steinbeck is trying to present the character as a tease and an object of desire.

Cite this Lennie Small ‘Of mice and Men’

Lennie Small ‘Of mice and Men’. (2016, May 31). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/lennie-small-of-mice-and-men/

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