Of Mice And Men - Characterization Of Lennie

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade July 2001

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Do not judge a book by its cover. One must read the book in its entirety to appreciate the story, and fully comprehend its meaning. The character of Lennie Small in the novel, Of Mice and Men, can be compared to a book; it is easy to judge Lennie by looking at the outside cover; however, to truly understand him, his inner soul must be explored. One can appreciate the extent of Lennie's troubles, and how, understandably, he is so often misjudged, by examining his psychological disabilities, physical characteristics, and emotional behavior.

Lennie's character is severely mentally challenged: he is socially inept, has an underdeveloped memory, and demonstrates inappropriate behavior. Lennie is clearly psychologically incompetent; his mind has matured to a level similar to that of a child; therefore, he can understand and communicate only the most elementary thoughts and ideas, and has no ability to judge situations before he speaks or acts.

" "˜I turns to Lennie and says, "˜Jump in.' An' he jumps. Couldn't swim a stroke. He damn near drowned before we could get him.' " (p. 44) Not only is Lennie unable to understand the meaning of importance, he has no memory of important assertions if they do not directly pertain to rabbits. He cannot even remember his Aunt Clara, who took him in as a baby, and he lived with until she passed away. In order for Lennie to conceptualize and remember ideas or instructions, he must repeatedly recite them to George; even this ritual will not insure a recollection of the information. Although Lennie's poor memory is a severe problem, his ultimate drawback, is his unacceptable behavior. Although unintentional, Lennie causes harm, and death to people and animals. These situations result from his intense affection for soft and furry animals, objects, or...