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Lennie Small

Extended Character Analysis

Lennie Small, George’s companion and fellow migrant laborer, is not “small” at all. Lennie’s ironic last name highlights how the two main protagonists, Lennie and George, represent a study in contrasts. While George is small and shrewd, Lennie is a “huge man, shapeless of face, with large, pale eyes, and wide, sloping shoulders.” He resembles a “bear” who “drags his paws” and “his feet a little.” George and the other laborers frequently remark on Lennie’s formidable strength. Many compare him to a bull, and Slim states that he has “never seen such a worker… such a strong guy.” He remarks, “ain’t nobody can keep up with him.” 

Although Lennie may be the strongest man on the farm, he “ain’t no fighter,” as George states. Lennie is stronger and more powerful than even he realizes, and he often accidently kills the rabbits and mice whose soft fur he likes to pet. Although never explicitly mentioned, readers may infer that Lennie has an intellectual handicap. He is often described as childlike, and he requires George’s assistance to obtain jobs. Lennie also values George’s companionship because George shares his dream of living “on the fatta the lan’” with his beloved rabbits. 

Lennie gets into trouble when others perceive his huge stature as menacing. Lennie may be large and physically intimidating, but he is kind and innocent by nature. He never means to hurt animals or anyone, but his incredible strength and mental limitations often unintentionally result in...

(The entire section is 515 words.)