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Signfiance of the Names in of Mice and Men

By noswal9011 Feb 09, 2012 736 Words
“The Significance of the names in Of Mice and Men”
There are names that John Steinbeck chose for his book Of Mice and Men. These names were not chosen at random they were picked because they have significance to the story and a meaning beyond the book. Each name was chosen for a reason and each character not name was also picked for a reason.

George Milton was an honest man and always did what was right even if it hurt him, but his name is not just a name it has several meanings to it. His first name, George, in Greek means “earth-worker” or “farmer”. The significance to this was because he was a ranch worker and did work on the land. His last name, Milton, came from the last name of a famous writer, John Milton, and means Paradise Lost. The significance to this was when he had to shoot Lennie he lost their dream of owning a ranch to themselves, Thus Paradise Lost. There were also a lot of leaders whose names were George which could be another reason Mr. Steinbeck chose this name. It is believed to be related to the fact that George has dominate control of Lennie and is responsible for making the best decisions he can for Lennie and himself, just as leaders do for their country’s or Kingdoms.

Lennie Small was a big, gentle man with a child’s mind who didn’t know his own strength. His first name was assumed to be Leonard or Leonardo which is derived from German elements “brave lion.” The significance of this is believed to be the opposite of Lennie’s mental abilities or believed to be describing is physical characteristics more than his mental characteristics. Lennie is compared to a Lion who in the animal kingdom show their superiority through their strength. Lennie shows his superiority twice in the book. Once when he crushes Curley’s hand and the other being when he killed Curley’s wife. Lennie’s last name, Small, contradicts him completely when you talk about his physical appearances. He has a big build to his body and is a strong man. When you talk about his mental abilities it describes the fact that he has the mind of a child or a mental disability that does not allow him to be able to take care of himself without guidance. In the words of the book Lennie is crazy bastard but a hell of a worker.

If you paid any attention to the names in the book you would have noticed that most of them began with a C. Candy, Curley, Crooks, Aunt Clara, and Carlson all begin with a C and this was not just a coincident they were chosen like that for a reason. Candy was the old swamper who was an honest and open man that you could talk to about anything without fear of being judged. The significance of this was that Candy did not judge Lennie and did not see him as a stupid or retarded man. Curley had a wild and untamed personality thus describing how he is always causing problems and describing himself as the antagonist. Crooks name describes his physical condition which is a crooked back due to a medical injury. Aunt Carla is one of the few people with a normal name in the book. She is a very important person in Lennie and George’s lives and when she dies she takes part of their lives with her. The significance of her name is that we don’t know much about her and couldn’t really have a name to describe who she is. Carlson is just like Aunt Carla when it comes to an importance in someone’s life. Both Carlson and Aunt Carla were either a loss or caused a loss to someone one way or another. Carlson killed Candy’s dog and when Aunt Carla died she left George and Lennie to fend for themselves.

As you can tell the names in John Steinbeck’s book Of Mice and Men are more than just words on a page. They are people who changed the lives of others in the book. John Steinbeck is an inventive writer and very skilled at writing short stories that catch the reader and make them believe that they are actual there as the story unfolds.

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