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The Importance of Lenie in Of Mice and Men, a Play by John Steinbeck

Updated August 1, 2022
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The Importance of Lenie in Of Mice and Men, a Play by John Steinbeck essay

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A commonality found in almost all aspects of stories revolves around the main protagonist and his or her confidante. The secondary character not only aids the main character, but to unravel deeper aspects in the story as well. Seen in the novel, Of Mice and Men, the main character George, a scrawny farmworker with “restless eyes” is aided by Lennie who juxtaposes George with a strong figure, yet not-so-clever mind. Throughout the story is there consistent motifs that the two characters are intertwined with, but above all does Lennie prove much more than a friend to George. Lennie as a confidante serves to shape the story’s overall message while serving as an antithesis to George that adds to the complexity of George’ dynamic character. The main crux of George throughout the story is that he is dependent on Lennie despite having negative views of him; Lennie serves to expose George’s flaws as realistic character that shifts dynamically throughout the story. When George exclaims towards Lennie about how he “can’t keep a job” and how he is “shovin’ [him] all over the country”, it proves that George is originally set upon Lennie as a burden, but he lacks the empathy to realize that the motive behind Lennie is under innocence (6). Despite George knowing these burdens, he continues supporting him because he realizes the importance of Lennie with his juxtaposing traits of strength; it proves that George has an internal conflict between what he directly says to his partner and how he legitimately feels deep inside.

Lennie allows George to dynamically change as a character by realizing his like of emphatic affinity when he finally is tasked with shooting him. George purposefully responds that he “ain’t mad” and had “never been mad” to prove the revelation about his own treatment of Lennie throughout the story as baseless despite constantly yelling at him. The consistent motif of every character having a flaw is exemplified when Lennie can’t resolve his own through a static character that George tries to continually change. George only realizes this trait of Lennie at the end of the story because he grows with Lennie alone as a changing character further proving why Lennie is no longer depended upon. More than anything does George grow as a character when realizing his own flaws, but he only does this through the catalyst of Lennie being static in the first place. In every novel is there a central theme or idea that the author wants the reader to know, and with Lennie does he serve to illustrate how each character needs to recognize their own flaws unless they want to remain as a static character. Lennie proves his childhood innocence although being a grown farmworker when he wants to “get another mouse that’s fresh” after accidently killing the mouse he carried in his pocket (5).

A central motif for Lennie is his innocence that he is never able to break, but there are striking parallels found throughout the story in other characters when realizing that Lennie encompasses an easily seen flaw. Lennie depends so heavily on George that is proven when he says “I want you to stay with me”, but the theme of weakness is shown when he realizes that he slows down George in the process (7). Lennie serves symbolic to a stereotypical strong farm worker with a small-witted brain and further adds to the story through only proving that he “accidently” does this acts of harm without negative motives behind them. He foreshadows the rest of the story because he remains as a character with strong weaknesses that he doesn’t want to change despite knowing that George will scold him later because he has been so accustomed to a lack of punishment throughout the story in the first place. After unintentionally killing Curley’s wife does George pull the switch and realize this theme himself as he knows the smaller themes of their fantasy-like future are completely ruined. Above all does Lennie function to expose the need to change as a theme, but because he fails to do so does it lead to his demise while George continues. Across the novel Of Mice and Men does each character encompass a set of traits and personalities that add to the story in its own way, but Lennie as a confidante shows the deeper meanings behind repeating motifs. His function as a character is seen to aid George until his death is met with a revelation that he was unable to meet himself. The novel not only proves the importance of a secondary character aiding the main one, but proves how characters encapsulates their role to add to the layers of each other character.

The Importance of Lenie in Of Mice and Men, a Play by John Steinbeck essay

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The Importance of Lenie in Of Mice and Men, a Play by John Steinbeck. (2022, Aug 01). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-importance-of-lenie-in-of-mice-and-men-a-play-by-john-steinbeck/

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