On what page does it tell you that Lennie thinks or acts like a child in Of Mice and Men?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the opening scene of the novella, Lennie's adolescent nature is depicted by his reaction to George throwing his dead mouse into the bushes. Like a child, Lennie reacts by crying and struggling to control his emotions. Steinbeck writes,

"He heard Lennie's whimpering cry and wheeled about...Lennie's lip quivered and tears started in his eyes" (5).

In chapter 3, Slim allows Lennie to have one of his puppies, and Lennie becomes attached to his new dog. Despite George's numerous warnings not to play with the fragile newborn creature, Lennie sneaks his puppy into the bunkhouse. George then spots Lennie holding the puppy and commands him to bring it back to the barn with its mother. Slim then comments on Lennie's childlike behavior by saying,

"Sure he's jes' like a kid. There ain't no more harm in him than a kid neither, except he's so strong. I bet he won't come in here to sleep tonight. He'd sleep right alongside that box in the barn" (Steinbeck, 21).

In chapter 5, Lennie accidentally kills his puppy because he is too rough with it. Lennie expresses his displeasure and resembles an upset child by saying,

"Why do you got to get killed? You ain't so little as mice. I didn't bounce you hard" (Steinbeck, 42).

Similar to a child, Lennie blames the puppy for its death and speaks to it after it dies. Lennie's lack of self-control and responsibility also mirror a child's personality.

Shortly after, Curley's wife enters the barn. Lennie is hesitant to speak to her. Lennie insists on following George's commands, which again reveals his childlike personality. Lennie's reasoning for not speaking to Curley's wife resembles a child's logic when he says,

"George says I ain't to have nothing to do with you—talk to you or nothing" (Steinbeck, 43).

Lennie then begins to discuss his fascination with petting soft things with Curley's wife. Before Curley's wife allows Lennie to stroke her hair, she references his immature nature by saying,

"You're nuts.... But you're a kinda nice fella. Jus' like a big baby. But a person can see kinda what you mean." (Steinbeck, 45)

mkcapen1 | Student

Lennie begins demonstrating childlike behaviors when he tries to hide the mouse from George on the walk to the ranch.  George asks Lennie what he has in his hand.  Lennie responds by telling George that he had just wanted to pet the mouse (the mouse is dead). Lennie tells George that he wanted the dead mouse so he could:

"I could pet it with my thumb while we walked along," said Lennie. (6)

Later Lennie is introduced to Slim his new ranch boss.  Slim has had a chance to observe Lennie and knows something is not quite right about him.  George tells Slim about Lennie.

"I used to play jokes on him.  I had fun with 'im.  Used to play jokes on him because he was too dumb to take care of himself." (40)

Lennie is given a pup from Slim that was born a day before which he sneaks back to his bunk.  George sees it and orders him to take it back to its moher.  Lennie can not understand why he can't keep the puppy with him and pet him.

denisedoe | Student

Lennie is childlike because he love soft thing and he needs George to look after him and he loves mices and rabbits. all he thinks about is how George is going to let him tent the rabbits

cutieee | Student

One of the first descriptions of Lennie is of him and George walking "in single file down the path, and evenin the open oe stayed behind the otheer." (pg 2) This is a great description because it shows that one of the character (Lennie) is delibeately following the other - like a child.

Lennie's certain behaviors also tells us that he has a mind of the child for example; he carried a dead mouse and liked petting it which shows that he's not fully normal.