How Does Steinbeck Present Disadvantaged Characters to Us (Lennie)

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Steinbeck presents disadvantaged characters to us using a number of techniques. The author does this to encourage us to sympathise and begin to understand the characters, in order to show the problems with prejudice and the various types of it which were endemic in American society in this time.

Lennie is firstly presented to us through the author’s use of animal imagery in the description, and the readers first impression of Lennie is how animal like he is when phrases like ‘snorting…like a horse’ are used. The author does this to show that Lennie is gentle, like an animal and can be tamed like domestic animals are. It also shows Lennie will only attack on instinct and become violent when he feels threatened or under attack. This is shown when he says ‘I didn’t want no trouble’ showing that he didn’t mean to do any harm and just doesn’t realise his own strength. The author also presents Lennie in this way because animals are innocent and do not have the capacity to act morally or know good from bad. This shows Lennie’s behaviour, when he acts violently, is a result of society as society taunts him until he behaves in this way.

Lennie is also presented to the readers as a vulnerable character, through the author’s description of Lennie’s actions, especially after his attack from Curley when he ‘bleated with terror’ and ‘crouched cowering’. This action emphasises his dependence on George as he couldn’t defend himself without George telling him to. His dependence on George is also made totally clear when he says ‘me an’ him goes ever’ place together’

When Lennie panics he starts to loose control and the author presents this to the readers through the structure of the text and Lennie’s dialogue. Lennie’s sentences become short and staccato like when he says phrases such as ‘please don’t’ and ‘now don’t you do that’ showing his evident panic. The readers can also tell that Lennie looses control because the author uses language such as ‘(lennie’s) face...
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