Slim is the anchor of the bunkhouse. He holds a position of power as he runs his own team and we are introduced to him as a “big tall skinner.” He has a commanding presence among the men of the bunkhouse. The men revel in his presence and first tell ...
Slim is the anchor of the bunkhouse. He holds a position of power as he runs his own team and we are introduced to him as a “big tall skinner.” He has a commanding presence among the men of the bunkhouse. The men revel in his presence and first tell George that Slim is a very nice man and is a continuous target of Curley’s wife. He is even able to banter back with her by saying “Hi, Good-lookin’” because he is just that slick.
When George first met him he noticed:
This was Slim, the jerkline skinner. His hatchet face was ageless. He might have been thirty-five or fifty. His ear heard more than was said to him, and his slow speech had overtones not of thought, but of understanding beyond thought. His hands, large and lean, were as delicate in their action as those of a temple dancer.
He was a man’s man, smart, brave, and a strong leader.
As they get to know each other, Slim easily can tell that Lennie is slow. He wants to do what’s right without anyone making a fuss about it and offers one of his puppies to Lennie. George is appreciative and this really solidifies the relationship between George and Slim.
George is a gruff man who violently defends Lennie because he has to--he has a sense of duty. This has caused him to become hard since it is difficult keeping Lennie out of trouble. Slim immediately notices Lennie’s disability and acts as a guide for George and Lennie by showing them the ropes.
At the same time, Slim is a force to be reckoned with that no one really has. When Curley was getting a little excited looking for his wife, Whit said, “But jus’ the same, he better leave Slim alone. Nobody don’t know what Slim can do.” While Slim is fair and calm, if pressed, no one is really sure what he is capable of since he is so calm, but not a pushover. Finally when Curley pushes too far, he is able to get Curley to back down.
I like to think of Slim as the person who calmed George. George is a very severe and uppity man who is constantly on edge. Slim provides a comfort and calm for George as he shows that he understands Lennie and his ways. When Lennie killed Curley’s wife, Slim was the one who started organizing the men, telling Crooks to stay with her while he knew immediately to search for George. He is the one who has been helping George with Lennie and knew that this was the end. While he didn’t help when Candy’s dog was put down, now was the tie for action. He knew that he had to help George through the hardest thing he would have to do--turn in his best friend. But I don’t think Slim was expecting George to actually kill Lennie. He was a man of little words for the most part and when he saw what George had to do, he, in the way that is categorically Slim, said:
Slim twitched George’s elbow. “Come on, George. Me an’ you’ll go in an’ get a drink.” George let himself be helped to his feet. “Yeah, a drink.” Slim said, “You hadda, George. I swear you hadda. Come on with me.” He led George into the entrance of the trail and up toward the highway.
The dynamic of George and Slim is fire and ice, Yin and Yang, etc. It isn’t far-fetched to think Slim had a relationship like that at some point with someone like George and Lennie had because of the amount of empathy he has for the situation. Slim is the only real friend outside of Lennie that George ever knew and is the man that George can become now that he is free of having to run with Lennie.