Of Mice and Men Questions and Answers
by John Steinbeck

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Why is Lennie socially isolated in Of Mice and Men?

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Steph Müller eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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While author John Steinbeck never gives us any specific details on the nature of what makes Lennie Small different, it is immediately apparent that he has an intellectual disability of some kind.

This disability means that Lennie is not able to express himself in ways that are perceived as normal. He comes across as a child and needs the help of George, his friend and fellow migrant worker, to obtain jobs.

Lennie has an unfortunate tendency to hurt people physically without having any intention of doing so. At one place of work, Lennie was accused of raping a woman after rubbing her dress inappropriately. In a later incident, Lennie inadvertently kills a woman after becoming entranced with her soft hair.

In a nutshell, the combination of Lennie's brute strength and simple mind makes the other men on the ranch socially isolate him.

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Lennie is socially isolated by the other workers on the ranch because he is intellectually disabled and a newcomer to the farm. Lennie is depicted as a large man who...

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