Of Mice and Men
Developing Lennie's Character 10th Grade
Lennie is a central character in Of Mice and Men, and though many believe he is a flat character, he does in fact evolve as the story goes on, with Steinbeck making him progressively more human. The reader strongly empathises with such a fascinating character who is presented in many ways. Indeed, though simple in his desires and perhaps limited in his way of viewing the world, Lennie makes Steinbeck’s novella and message even more poignant.
Lennie is marked by a strong contrast between his physical appearance and his mentality, which highlights many important aspects of this character. At the beginning of chapter one, Lennie is described physically: he is “huge”, has “large, pale eyes” and “sloping shoulders”. These long vowels and diphthongs emphasise Lennie’s strikingly massive appearance. His imposing stature makes his last name ironic, since physically, Lennie is exactly the opposite of “Small”. Furthermore, the reader gets the impression that Lennie has no control over his body and his abrupt, rough movements: for instance, Lennie’s “arms (…) h[a]ng loosely” when he walks and he “flung[s] himself down” to drink. This is perhaps a sign of trouble: his physical strength could be dangerous to others, especially if he can’t...
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