Weak Characters in of Mice and Men

Topics: Of Mice and Men, Great Depression, John Steinbeck Pages: 2 (715 words) Published: February 27, 2011
Lennie and Crooks are two weak characters in of Mice and Men. In the tough working environment which was America’s 1920s, the time of the Great Depression, there was no place for mentally or physically insufficient people, it was survival of the fittest and “every man for himself.” We learn of Lennie’s non-existent capacity to care for himself early on in the novel. Even at the very start of the novel we see that “The two men walked in single file down the path, and even in the open one stayed behind the other.” This shows that George (who is in front) is the clear leader of the two. Lennie also shows how he is not as comfortable with humans as he is with animals- “He walked heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws.” This means that George has to give him precise instructions how to act around other people other than himself, as he could ruin things for the both of them if he “opens his god damn mouth” George, faced with the dilemma of the men at the ranch “seeing him talk before he works” has to use his knowledge of Lennie to help him remember, so he gives him a reward for remembering. “Good boy! That’s fine, Lennie! When we get the coupla acres I can let you tend the rabbits alright. Specially if you remember as good as that.” He knows that Lennie never remembers anything unless if it has something to do with tending rabbits, which he is obsessed with. Lennie often doesn’t know how to act around other humans, so when confronted with violence, he is helpless and can’t respond without instructions from George. “Lennie looked helplessly at George, then he got up and tried to retreat. ‘Make ‘um stop, George.” He only begins to fight back when George encourages him “Get ‘im, Lennie!” Crooks, is another weak character in Of Mice and Men. However, Crooks is in fact quite intelligent as we can see from Steinbeck’s description of his room “And he had books too, a tattered dictionary and a mauled copy of the California civil code for 1905.”...
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