1.1 Introduced as a "huge man" who walks heavily, has a
"shapeless face and large, pale blue eyes"
1.1.1 He walks "heavily, dragging his feet a little and his arms swing only because his
hands act as a pendulum" this description emphasises slowness of his mind.
1.2 Lennie survives on instincts like an animal.
When he sees water he immediately drinks it.
1.3 He displays a kind of animal cunning and uses it to get around George. In the first section
George loses his temper, Lennie tries to rouse sympathy (technically emotionally black mails
him) by making him feel guilty when he threatens to go off and live by himself in the hills.
1.4 He seems to detect danger like animals too by begging George to let them leave the ranch.
1.5 Steinbeck compares him to many animals. When drinking he is described as "snorting
like a horse", instead of hands he has "paws", he doesn't scream he "bleats" and is
compared to a bear on several occasions.
1.5.1 We think of horses and bears to be docile and cuddly, so these comparisons emphasise his
innocence and our sympathy for Lennie. If we didn't sympathise his death would be less tragic.
1.5.2 His similarity to animals also indicate his brute strength and the danger he poses to other characters - he is
incapable to reasoning like a normal human when being threatened, he acts instinctively to protect himself.
1.6 He would rather be in the barn with the animals than with the other characters.
2 RELATIONSHIP WITH GEORGE
2.1 Father-son-relationship as Lennie looks up to George and often copies his actions.
2.1.1 The re-telling of the dream to Lennie could be compared to a father telling his son a bedtime story and George
has to repeat important things so Lennie will learn through repitition and reinforcement much like a child.
2.2 Him and George don't seem to have 'proper' conversations. George tells Lennie
to do something and he either does it or doesn't.
3.1 He is CHILD-LIKE in the way he reacts when he panics, like when he
grabs Curley's hand he panics and holds on, being unreasonable.
3.1.1 Doesn't learn from mistakes or
understands things can be fragile.
3.2 He is BACKWARDS.
3.2.1 He is unaware that he is a victim of social prejudice, he fails to pick up on
comments made by Crooks that most people would be offended by. He cannot
relate to many people causing his behaviour to be CHILD LIKE and ANTI-SOCIAL.
3.2.2 BACKWARDS: he doesn't feel lonely as he has no
concept of this type of emotion. He knows what it
feels like to look forward to something though.
3.3 LIKEABLE. Candy takes to him and even Crooks is
disarmed by him - probably due to his child like nature
seeming to be friendly and not frightening.
4 Lennie doesn't know his own strength and this leads to him breaking
Curley's wifes' neck. Slim comments "He's so damn strong."
5 The dream is very important to Lennie as he can almost repeat it word for word.
6 At the end, Lennie has two hallucinations; first picturing Aunt Clara and then a giant rabbit.
Both show the idea of some of the abuse Lennie has been subjected to. It could also be a
manifestation of his conscience - he knows that when you do wrong you have to be punished
and wrries what George will do to him. Lennie knows he's done wrong but doesn't get how it
was wrong. He has no concept of responsibility and blames to pup's death on the fact that it
"wasn't big enough"
7 He has no concept that killing a person is too serious for things to just go back to normal
and so encouraged George to punish him so that it will all just be brushed away. He hides
the dead puppy under his coat before leaving commenting "it's bad enough already"
showing that he thinks the death of a human and a puppy are of equal seriousness.
8 Lennie is a very important part of the dream as George needs his pay but he also hinders the chance of the dream by losing him "every job I get"
9 Lennie is naïve in thinking that the dream will come true and his constant wish to be told about it convinces George it
may be possible. By killing Curleys' wife the dream dies for both George and Candy who states "it's all off?"
10 The dream lives on for Lennie in a final act of kindness towards him
George gets him to visualise the farm when he shoots him allowing him
to fulfil the dream moments before his death.