In Of Mice and Men, the character of Lennie seems to have a developmental disability, which is indicated in his own words, the other characters’ comments, and the narrator’s descriptions and presentation of events. Lennie’s memory is not good, and he is comfortable with concrete things and information but struggles with abstractions and hypotheticals.
The mice he plays with and accidentally kills remind him of those he played with as a child, he tells George, which “that lady” used to give to him. George has to remind him that the lady “was your own Aunt Clara.”
When Crooks attempts to have a conversation with Lennie, he is surprised to find that George had not exaggerated Lennie’s limitations. Crooks tells him, “you don’t understand nothing.” He also goads him to imagine what he would do without George, should he get hurt. Lennie tries but is unable to process this abstraction, so he assumes it is a fact. He angrily demands to know, “Who hurt George?”
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