ENGLISH LITERATURE

Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men

Key Characters in Of Mice and Men

Lennie

Of Mice and MenLennie is a huge man but he acts like a young child. His size gives him strength.

– Lennie lacks any intelligence.

– He often survives on instinct and he depends on George for guidance and help, only speaking to Curley when George gives him permission.

– He quickly forgets things and needs George to remind him.

– Lennie keeps a dead mouse, a chilling foreshadowing of what is to come.

– He is animal-like and is often likened to a dog with paws.

– He dreams of having rabbits, which is his way of escaping harsh realities and shows his simple nature.

– He doesn’t intend to hurt the mouse, the pup, Curley or Curley’s wife, but he is too rough.

George

– George is intelligent and keeps Lennie alive.

– He looks after Lennie and they work as a team.

– He constantly says he could do better without Lennie, but never leaves him.

– He has a dream and does not want it to be shattered.

– He can be cruel to Lennie, but this is due to frustration. He wants the best for Lennie and for him to stay out of trouble.

– George dreams of having a house, pigs and luxuries in life.

– The others get caught up in his dreams, especially Lennie.

– At the end he takes responsibility for killing Lennie, as he has taken responsibility for him all along.

Curley

– Curley is a small man, both physically and in the way he behaves.

– He is violent; he was once a boxer.

– He uses his fists to get what he wants.

– He takes his anger out on Lennie, thinking he is picking on someone weaker.

– He is hurt badly by Lennie, who crushes his hand.

– He is incredibly jealous and rightly suspects that his wife is being unfaithful.

Curleys Wife

Of Mice and Men– Curley’s wife isn’t given a name to show her low status.

– She is a flirtatious character and has no love for Curley.

– She is presented as being glamorous and seen as a whore by the men.

– She is pretty, but dangerous for the men to get to know, so they try to avoid her.

– She is fascinating to Lennie because she is another outsider in a world of men.

Crooks

– Crooks is black and abused by the other men as racism was rife in America at this time (1920s)

– He is Physically handicapped with a crooked back as a result of an injury when a horse kicked him. This further adds to his disadvantages and isolation.

– Crooks is intelligent and reads a lot.

– He is protective of his room which is tidy and shows his pride.

– He is very defensive when Lennie comes in as he is used to being attacked by the white men.

– He feels superior to Lennie (intellectually) and Curley’s wife (morally).

– He has no one to love or support him.

– Very much a realist, he has no great dream.

Candy

– Candy is an old man.

– His dog is old too and when he becomes useless the others urge him to have it put down (there is a similarity here between the dog and Lennie being ‘put down’ by George at the end).

– The death of the dog is a tense and sad moment in the novel.

Slim

– Slim is a figure of authority on the ranch.

– Curley thinks his wife is having an affair with Slim.

– He is knowledgeable.

Key Plot Points:

Of Mice and Men– Many characters have a dream.

– Life is hard and seems hopeless.

Lennie and George travel together and work as a team.

– Lennie is like a big child.

– George looks after him.

– There is still racism in America at this time.

– Lennie can’t control his own strength.

– The landscape is harsh, reflecting the harshness of their lives and the Great Depression.