Like accessteacher, I like the character of Curley's wife, but for reasons that are more "formal".
This character is revealed again and again, and each time she changes. The picture of Curley's wife goes from being one of coquettish aggression (if I can put those ideas together) to abject and bitter isolation to stinted, immature dreamer.
I also especially enjoy her presentation of the stereotypical self-vision where she says she could have been a Hollywood star. That always reminds me of At the Waterfront and The Sound and the Fury, both of which examine the recklessness of this dream and the desperation of it.
OK - I am going against the flow here but I have a soft spot for Curly´s wife. In some ways, I think she is the most pitiable character in the whole novel. She, like so many other characters, is lonely and has had her dreams smashed and struggles with facing the empty reality of her bleak life. However, unlike the other characters, by virtue of her being a female, she is excluded from any form of companionship, which obviously makes her try to seek it in innappropriate ways.
George, without a doubt. He is responsible, like clane says, but more importantly he is compassionate. He tries to spare Lennie pain in all ways, and he is not quick to hate and turn bitter as many are. Plus, he is a dreamer in a time when despondency was rampant. Have to respect him for that.
Everytime I read this novel I feel sympathetic towards Lennie's plight, empathetic towards George, Crooks, and Candy, hatred for Curley, and annoyance for his wife, but the one character that most amuses me has always been Carlson. To me, Carlson is the epitome of the hard-working, tobacco chewing, jeans wearing uber-male. Got a problem with your dog, Candy? Let's go kill it. Got a problem with your friend, George? Let's go kill him. Carlson doesn't waste two seconds of thought before going to look for his gun when they decide to hunt down Lennie. It's almost as if the boredom and monotony of working hard at the same job every day needs to be broken up by something, and if that something just happens to be gunning down a fellow employee, so be it. For being a minor part, Steinbeck packed a ton of character into Carlson.
My favorite is George. My mother was mentally incapacitated from a car accident and my dad was told that she would be mentally retarded for the rest of her life. She managed to recover far beyond what anyone thought she would. As the years have gone by her mental capacity has begun to diminish again exponentially and she acts at times like Lenny. George reminds me of my dad because he could have left my mom and everyone would have understood, just like George could have left Lenny. The love for Lenny runs so deep and his sense of obligation is so firmly in place that he watches Lenny no matter what. Yes, he gets frustrated at times-who wouldn't? He stays, he protects, and he is the only picture of family that Lenny has and it's nice that Lenny had someone before he died.
I'm most fond of Crooks. Steinbeck gives us an exquisitely painful portrait of a man trapped by his body, society, and the situation, and who carves out the pride and place he can.