Of Mice and Men: Character Analysis

Of Mice and Men: Character Analysis

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Of Mice and Men: Character Analysis

John Steinbeck’s novella, Of Mice and Men, is a 1937 publication that revolves around the experiences of two migrant workers displaced from a ranch during the Great Depression. They are George Milton and Lennie Small. They move across California as they look or new jobs. The focus of this essay is on Lennie. The goal is to examine how an experience can completely alter the life of an individual. Lennie, alongside George, is the main characters in Of Mice and Men. However, George’s character overshadows Lennie. Lennie fails to attain considerable growth and development as the story unfolds. Although Lennie possesses considerable physical strengths, he is too dependent on George.

Although Lennie is a man, he has the mind of a child, prompting Slim to suggest that ‘He’s jes’ like a kid’ (Steinbeck, 1937, p. 47).  Consequently, the reader feels compelled to sympathize with Lenny’s character, which was Steinbeck’s intent.  Lennie state of defenseless becomes apparent throughout the Novella. For instance, he is unable to overcome the dangers posed by Curley, his wife as well as the world around him. However, Lennie’s sense of enthusiasm regarding the farm’s future is highly contagious.  He succeeds in convincing George and the other workers about the possibility of achieving a paradise at the farm. Despite his mental disability, Lennie is gentle and kind. Lennie is yet to learn how to harness his strong body to his advantage. The sad thing though, is that Lennie is also not aware of the immense physical strengths that he possesses.

Lennie’s character thus serves as an indicator that we should not let what life throws at us dictate who we are, or how we react to the world around us. However, all too often, we are never aware of the strengths at our disposal, just like Lennie. We do not also know how to harness them. Consequently, we remain over-reliant on others for far too long.


Steinbeck, J. (1937). Of Mice and Men. Pearson Longman Plain Edition, 10th impression, 2010,

Essex, England

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