Describe George & Lennie in Of Mice and Men. How does the author give us clues about their characters from their description?

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missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Your questions demonstrate you are in chapter 1. I will answer from that point in the story.

First, George is characterized as a shorter square-faced man. This might make George the thinker, organizer and planner. Lennie's features are rounder and he is taller and compared to a bear. He might be the big teddy bear, or the bear that kills and destroys. We do not yet know.

The two have almost a father-son relationship. George (ironically the smaller) is always telling Lennie not to pick up or hang on to dead mice or how to drink clean water.

The characterization of these two happens directly as the have conversation, and indirectly as we look at things like Lennie's bear paw.

The novel opens up along a creekside just off the highway where a little pool has gathered on the side of the river. There is a clearing that makes it look like others have had campfires here before.

As George makes clear to Lennie that he wants Lennie to remember this place, that clues us in that there will be a reason to be revealed later. If Lennie gets into trouble, this is where George will meet him.


coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

We should not be quick to dismiss Lennie as totally slow and heavy in all things in the novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. of course, his size, strength, lumbering gait and junior level thinking do mark him out as having learning challenges - but he can be wily too! He is quick to push George's buttons when he is clever enough to see that he has power too and can also manipulate right back by making childlike threats (threatening to go away, for example, as George needs his strength and in a funny kind of way,his company.) Whilst Lennie has his strength and power to "sell" to potential employers, small wiry George is "the fixer" - he finds the work, works out the money and does the deals and talking.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the book, George is a small man who is very quick and defined.  Everything about is is sharp and strong.  By contrast, Lennie is big and shapeless.  He walks heavily where George is quick.

To me, this says a lot about their characters.  George is sharp and strong and aggressive.  He is the one who has a plan, who is always controlling things and moving forward.  By contrast, Lennie lets other people shape him.  He reacts to what George is doing (and what others do) rather than acting for himself.

In this way, Steinbeck really uses the two mens' physiques as metaphors for what they are like personally.