Why does Steinbeck include Slim in the novella?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Slim is a revered character throughout the novella and is viewed with respect and admiration on the ranch. Slim is described as an experienced jerk-line skinner who is portrayed as the voice of reason throughout the story. Slim understands each man's individual struggles and personalities on the ranch and freely gives advice to the other men. Slim's character is significant throughout the novella because Steinbeck contextualizes other characters and contrasts them against Slim. Slim's morally upright character provides a standard which other individuals can be compared to. Curley's reckless, superficial personality contrasts greatly with Slim's confident, tolerant attitude. Steinbeck also uses Slim's character to make accurate, fair judgments of other characters. He comments to George that Lennie isn't a mean person and justifies George's decision to shoot Lennie by mentioning how it would not be good for Lennie to rot in jail. Slim's character illuminates other individuals' strengths and weaknesses throughout the novella. His authority also grants him the ability to make accurate judgments regarding right and wrong.

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Of Mice and Men

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