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Does Slim represent Steinbeck in the story? The physical description seems to allude to...

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mcfox1948 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted May 4, 2013 at 4:38 PM via web

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Does Slim represent Steinbeck in the story? The physical description seems to allude to that, as does Slim's "god-like" eyes?

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted May 4, 2013 at 6:04 PM (Answer #1)

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In Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck creates the character Slim. Steinbeck approves of Slim as a hero in the novel. Steinbeck describes Slim's  eyes as "God-like." Steinbeck gives a favorable description of Slim. If there was a character that Steinbeck would desire to resemble, it would definitely be Slim. Slim is perceptive. He is kind. He is an excellent worker. He has characteristics that display him as a hard working man. He gets the job done. Slim is quite skillful. No doubt, Steinbeck would consider it a compliment to be compared to Slim. Steinbeck describes him as majestic and royal:

…[Slim] moved with a majesty only achieved by royalty and master craftsman. He was a jerkline skinner, the prince of the ranch, capable of driving ten, sixteen, even twenty mules with a single line to the leaders. He was capable of killing a fly on the wheeler's butt with a bull whip without touching the mule. There was a gravity in his manner and a quiet so profound that all talk stopped when he spoke, His authority was so great that his word was taken on any subject, be it politics or love. This was Slim, the jerkline skinner. (2.170)

No doubt, Steinbeck creates an exceptional character when he creates Slim. Slim is not judgemental. He accepts Lennie as he is. Slim always makes the right decisions. One could see how Steinbeck would consider it a compliment to be compared to Slim. 

When George had to shoot Lennie, Slim comforts George and assures him that he did the right thing:

[Slim] alone understands and tries to comfort George at the end of the novel after George has killed Lennie.

Truly, Slim is an admirable character. He is really more in charge than Curley, the boss's son. Slim is so respected until even Curley listens to him. Steinbeck describes Slim as one who excels in character. In fact, Slim is respected by all the ranch hands. He has fine skills and excellent leadership:

Emphasis is placed on Slim's skill and craftsmanship; he does his job exceedingly well. Slim is a doer, not a dreamer. "His ear heard more than was said to him, and his slow speech had overtones not of thought, but of understanding beyond thought." Slim is the really heroic man in the novel.

Clearly, Steinbeck creates Slim to be the hero. With this in mind, the reader could easily see how Steinbeck could relate to Slim. No doubt, Steinbeck would be honored for the reader to consider that Slim is a representation of himself. 

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