Chapter 1- Of Mice and Men

Chapter 1- Of Mice and Men
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  • Character: Lennie Smalls
  • Symbol: Lennie Follows George
  • Theme: Dreams
  • Lennie Smalls is "a huge man, shapeless of face, with large, pale eyes, with wide, sloping shoulders." He is unswervingly obedient to George. He's simple minded and obviously has some sort of cognitive disability. In this novel John Steinbeck compares Lennie's physique to large animals, such as bears. Lennie is associated with bears because he is seen as gentle, despite his size, but if one ventures too close they may be hurt. He does not enjoy loud noises and acts out when he feels threatened just as a large animal would.
  • "They had walked in single file down the path, and even in the open one stayed behind the other." Lennie continuously walking single file behind George, and obeying all of Georges commands symbolizes how Lennie does not have the capability to think for himself. When George and Lennie arrived at the watering hole, Lennie dived right into drinking from the pond. George had to attempt to stop Lennie from drinking the water because they were unaware if it was safe enough. George is the leader of the two. Lennie will forever be a follower.
  • George and Lennie represent dreams/dreaming in chapter one when they talk about their ranch. "O.K. someday - we're gonna get the jack together and we're gonna have a little house and a couple of acres an' a cow and some pigs." This dream allows George and Lennie to keep on working and fighting against the odds. Even though Lennie forces George and him to constantly move they have a common goal that allows them to bond and grow a stronger relationship between the two.
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