What does Steinbeck mean when he has Slim say everyone in the world is scared of each other?How does Stienbeck persuade us to agree with Slim's comment, focusing on the characters Curley, George...

What does Steinbeck mean when he has Slim say everyone in the world is scared of each other?

How does Stienbeck persuade us to agree with Slim's comment, focusing on the characters Curley, George and Lennie in Of Mice and Men?

Asked on by katiek123

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the themes of the story is that people do not trust one another, and most people are alone.

Slim is surprised when he learns that George and Lennie are traveling together.

Slim looked through George and beyond him. “Ain’t many guys travel around together,” he mused. “I don’t know why. Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.” (ch 2)

George and Lennie have certainly discovered a lack of trust and understanding.  They were  run out of weed when Lennie had an altercation with a girl who mistook his childlike behavior as predatory.

Curley is an example of the behavior that they are worried about.  He does not trust anyone, and automatically assumes the worst.

His eyes passed over the new men and he stopped. He glanced coldly at George and then at Lennie. His arms gradually bent at the elbows and his hands closed into fists. He stiffened and went into a slight crouch. His glance was at once calculating and pugnacious. Lennie squirmed under the look and shifted his feet nervously. Curley stepped gingerly close to him. (ch 2)

Curley is ready for a fight at first sight.  He assumes Lennie is a threat because of his large size, and is suspicious of both of them.  He certainly exemplifies Slim’s words.  He is afraid of everyone.

 

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