Steinbeck is pointed and direct in his depiction of the migrant life. The detailed descriptions that open each section of the novel operate more like stage directions. Each moment is a reminder of what life is like for those who struggle. Individuals who struggle to find work, struggle to dream, struggle to stay afloat in a harsh and cruel world, and struggle to find some solidarity are the focal points of the narrative.
However, one of the most distinct aspects in Steinbeck's depiction of reality in Of Mice and Men is a transformative vision where individuals take action. Steinbeck describes reality in a brutally effective manner. However, he avoids the myth that individuals who are economically challenged cannot take action to protect the notion of social order. At different points, Steinbeck lauds characters who recognize the need to take action in order to make the world a little bit better.
The most evident example of this would be George having to kill Lennie. George recognizes that material reality plays a large role in what one wants to do with their lives. However, it becomes clear that there is a point in which action must be taken in order to maintain a larger vision that embraces solidarity with others.
Candy resents himself for not taking action in the shooting of his dog. His admission that he should have done so is a critical moment in his characterization.
Steinbeck's admiration for Slim is rooted in how he always takes action. Slim emerges as a type of hero in the novel because he is never limited in his need to take action. Slim understands that leadership means that one takes action in the maintenance of a social order. It is for that reason that Steinbeck describes him in such lauded terms, distinctive from others because of his commitment to taking care of others and taking action in the name of that which is right.
It is not surprising that some of the first words that Slim speaks regard "teamwork," as in asking George and Lennie if they are going to be on his "team," and taking George by the arm at the end of the novel. Slim takes action in the name of others, while others might fail to do so. Slim becomes the example that Steinbeck would like to see all of us embrace because of his commitment to taking action in the the preservation of something larger than the individual.