In Of Mice and Men, Chapter 4, how does Steinbeck present Lennie? Starting from "His voice grew soft and persuasive" and ending with "I know George wun't do that."

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As far as George is concerned, Lennie is loyal, faithful, trusting, and protective. It has never occurred to him that he might not have George to rely upon--or that it could happen so easily and unexpectedly. Crooks is much more intelligent than Lennie. Crooks is taking a rare opportunity to pass on some of his physical and mental suffering to another person. It is a sadistic streak in his nature which rarely surfaces--but all of Steinbeck's characters, being human, are mixtures of good and bad. The big difference between Crooks and Lennie in this little episode is that Crooks is fully capable of abstract thinking and Lennie can only see in concrete images. Crooks obviously spends a lot of time alone and must indulge in a great deal of abstract thinking. What he suggests about George not coming back, however, is concrete and factual in Lennie's mind. Lennie somehow gets the idea that Crooks is actually making it happen. This puts Lennie is a situation where he is all alone in the world. He wouldn't have the slightest idea what to do. He has already had a taste of being alone when George berated him in Chapter One and indicated that he would prefer to be free of the burden of looking after Lennie constantly.

Lennie knelt and looked over the fire at the angry George. And Lennie's face was drawn with terror.          - Chapter One

When Lennie accidentally kills Curley's wife in the barn, it is because of his fear that George will abandon him for getting involved with that girl when George has specifically told him to stay away from her. Lennie is totally dependent on George. He sees Crooks as a threat to George and thereby a threat to himself. Crooks realizes he has gone to far and starts trying to backtrack. But he finds it hard to undo the spell he has created. He knows he is in serious danger of getting killed just for "supposing."

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Of Mice and Men

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