Compare and contrast to characters in Of Mice and Men to form a statement about Steinbeck's massage in the novella?Slim & Curley, Goerge and Lennie, Candy & Crooks, Curley's wife and...

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The author’s message is the theme of the story.  Steinbeck uses the contrast between Slim and Curley to demonstrate the message that a person’s actions influence what happens to him.

Slim and Curley make an interesting contrast, because both are authority figures on the ranch.  Everyone looks up to and admires Slim.  "Emphasis is placed on Slim's skill and craftsmanship; he does his job exceedingly well" (enotes characters).  Slim is described as a “hell of a nice fella” (ch 2, p. 15).  The boss’s son Curley, on the other hand, is mean.  George worries about him from the start.

“Look, Lennie! This here ain’t no setup. I’m scared. You gonna have trouble with that Curley guy. I seen that kind before. He was kinda feelin’ you out. He figures he’s got you scared and he’s gonna take a sock at you the first chance he gets.” (p. 15)

In short, Curley gets trouble because he goes asking for it.  Curley "willing to fight at the drop of a hat, yet he is really a coward" (enotes, characters)

Whereas Slim has an easy authority, Curley is out to prove himself.  Lennie intimidates him because he is bigger, so George knows that Curley is likely to pick a fight to prove his prowess.

Slim is impressed that George and Lennie travel together, whereas Curley seems threatened by it.  In the end, Slim helps Lennie when he accidentally kills Curley’s wife.  Slim is level-headed, while Curley is immature. 

When Curley does attack Lennie, he breaks his hand.  Curley’s doom comes from his pride.  He married his wife, she stepped out on him (or was going to), and she was ultimately killed.  No one feels sorry for Curley.  He is not a good person, and he gets his just desserts.  

For a character list:

For a summary:

Citation: Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. New York: Penguin, 1993. Print.


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