Out of Lennie, George, Curley, Curleys Wife, Slim, Candy and Crooks. Rank the characters in terms of their relative power use rationale and quotes.Remember the context in which the novel exists....

Out of Lennie, George, Curley, Curleys Wife, Slim, Candy and Crooks. Rank the characters in terms of their relative power use rationale and quotes.

Remember the context in which the novel exists.

Sources of Power:

Employment Position // Job Title

Wealth (financial)

Ethnicity (Race)


Physical Strength (Stature)

Physical Appearance --> Popularity




Network (Friends)

Expert Answers
Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The only person who can effectively rank these characters from Of Mice and Men for you is you, because each of us will have a different perspective on the relative importance of those items you list based on our own experiences.  You'll have to do your own quote work, but I'll give you a short rationale for my list, ranked from most powerful to least powerful. 

1.  George - he's strong enough physically to do serious farm work, intellectually to take care of both himself and Lennie in some very difficult situations, emotionally to withstand the pressures of being connected to someone like Lennie and even to do the most difficult task at the end, and socially to make friends and be "one of the guys" despite the handicap of having Lennie around.  He doesn't have many of the more material items on the list, but he has other qualities which make up for that.

2.  Slim - he's a natural leader, wise and judicious.  He has a position of authority on the farm but be doesn't have to exploit or humiliate others to maintain discipline.

3.  Curley - is powerful by position and rank and money but he's bankrupt in most of the areas that really count.

4.  Curley's Wife - by virtue of being married to Curley, she has position and power.  She also has some power as the only woman on the place, though she uses her position in a negative way to get negative attention.  She's powerful enough to keep Curley all tied up in jealous knots most of the time.

Lennie, Candy, and Crooks are all at the lowest level of power because they have no fit use in their society.  Lennie is a mental misfit; he can do what he's told most of the time but is unable to think for himself.  Candy is a physical misfit; he has one hand and is no longer fit to do much more than wield a mop.   Crooks is a social misfit; by virtue of his skin color, he has no real place on this or any other farm.   The other real misfit on this farm is Curley's wife; however, she has more position than any of these three because of who she married.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

1.  Slim, with his "God-like  eyes" whose

ear heard more than was said to him, and his slow speech had overtones not of thought, but of understanding beyond thought

is the leader; he is the man in whom the others place their confidence.  Even George opens up to him after he tells George "Hope you get on my team."  It is Slim who comforts George and offers him forgiveness and comfort after the shooting of Lennie: "You hadda George.  I swear you hadda.  Come on with me."  Slim is the hero of Of Mice and Men.

 2. Curley's wife - The Eve, temptress, who manipulates the men, creates discontent in the men, jealousy/insecurity in Curley, and destroys everything for George and Lennie. 

3. George - independent in his thinking, George realizes that meaning depends upon sharing: 

We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us....If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn.  But not us. 

George is the voice of Steinbeck for the theme of the fraternity of men.

4.  Crooks - crippled and ostracized because of his race, Crooks has some position because he performs a job.

5.  Lennie - dependent upon George always, but able to work like two men.

6.  Candy -old, like his dog, disabled, he is kept on only out of the sense of obligation that the boss has because of his accident.


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Of Mice and Men

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