Slim must be a hard-working leader among the guys. He is described as being out with his team and Candy says of him:
Slim's a jerkline skinner. Hell of a nice fella. p. 28
Later, some of the guys note that Curley's wife has the eye for Slim. But Slim keeps her in line and makes sure there is nothing inappropriate going on between them. She comes into the bunkhouse apparently looking for Curley and then Slim enters. The way he deals with her shows his integrity:
"I'm trying to find Curley, Slim."
"Well, you ain't trying very hard. I seen him goin' in your house."
Finally, in the end, Slim is the only loyal and encouraging friend George has. We see this when Slim says of Lennie's sacrifice,
You hadda, George. I swear you hadda. Come on, with me.
Slim is the voice of reason and integrity in this book. His purpose is to help show the error of other people's ways and to confirm the right actions of folks as well.
- Slim is the "prince of the ranch," highest ranking worker on the ranch, and Steinbeck's working class hero.
- Though Slim ranks lower than Curley, the Boss' son, Curley does not antagonize Slim. Instead, Curley picks on Lennie.
- He is the quintessential Western male: rugged, fair, and a tireless worker.
- Slim is equated with the horse. He drives the horse team. Like a horse, Slim is regal, majestic, and proud--a symbol of rugged individualism and the American work ethic.
- Steinbeck wants all men to be like Slim: to work for the sake of working, not to work according to a hierarchy or greediness or wages.
- George looks to Slim for advice regarding what to do with Curley when they fight and after Lennie kills Curley's wife.