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How are Lennie, George, and Curley both weak and powerful in "Of Mice and Men"?

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ashrod | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 20, 2008 at 10:47 PM via web

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How are Lennie, George, and Curley both weak and powerful in "Of Mice and Men"?

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clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted May 20, 2008 at 11:57 PM (Answer #1)

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Lennie's weakness is his mental capacity, he is slow, often times does not understand situations, often times does not understand his own physical strength, and has trouble relating to others in situations. His mental capacity is also his strength because it allows him to see others as they truly are, free from prejudices. He finds a friend in Crooks, the black stable buck, and doesn't realize that it's unusual for him to befriend someone of color. He is carefree, his biggest dream in the world is to tend rabbits, and it is this outlook on life that people find refreshing about him.

George's weaknesses are his physical strength and his undying loyalty to Lennie, which is also a strength. His loyalty to Lennie causes him to constantly be on the run from law, lie to others, and cover for Lennie. He feels guilty for how badly he treated Lennie when they were younger and is forever making it up to him because he enjoys the company of Lennie. His loyalty also plays as a strength because Lennie can depend on him to watch over him. Lennie can count on George to get him out of trouble, to get him jobs, and to stand up for him when he's being picked on for being slow.

Curley's weakness is that he is forever trying to prove himself physically because he lacks self confidence. He's jealous and suspicious, and he isn't a nice man. His strength comes in the physical form. He is an accomplished boxer and tries to fight men that are bigger than he is to prove it.

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allyson | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted May 21, 2008 at 3:15 AM (Answer #2)

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Curley is also powerful because he has a role of power in that he is the boss's son. Because he is lacks self-confidence, he abuses this power, by bossing the farmhands around and intimidating them. The men on the farm try not to get into his way because they know it will only cost them their jobs. Lennie gets into trouble on the farm because he is not smart enough to stay away from Curley.

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