The Peculiarities Of Steinbeck's Characters In Of Mice And Men

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Pity is very complicated. Steinbeck has a pitiful tone towards both of his major characters when they go through difficult times.

Steinbeck shows his pity for the character of Lennie as he struggles and fails to stay out of trouble at his new job. When Lennie is first introduced, it quickly becomes clear that even though he is a grown man, he does not have a complete understanding of what is appropriate in society and what is not. The very first thing we see is Lennie not understanding why it is not okay to keep a dead mouse in your pocket. Steinbeck writes, “‘I’m sorry George. I just wanted to keep ‘im to pet ‘im a little. I didn’t mean no harm” (page 20). He is just like a child. Later Steinbeck writes, “He didn’t know what he was doing. He had just wanted to touch the soft fabric on the lady’s dress. He could not understand why she was screaming so loudly and he got scared” (page 133). Inevitably, Lennie finally gets into trouble again, but, because of his lack of understanding, he is helpless to get himself out of the situation, which is very pitiful.

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Candy, a character that Lennie and George meet at their new job, is also portrayed as being pitiful when his dog dies. Before Candy’s dog dies, it is described as being very old and smelly. It hobbles around and spends most of its day laying around, but despite this Candy loves his dog very much: “I had ‘em since he was a pup. He ain’t got nobody but me and I ain’t got nobody but him” (page 34). Because he has had the dog so long, the two of them have a very special bond. This, however, makes Candy all the more pitiful when the time comes to put the poor dog out of his misery. “No! He’s all I got! I won’t shoot him! He’s all I got!” (page 124). Here Candy is desperate to keep his dog despite the urgings of others to put him down. He sounds especially pitiful as he repeats, “He’s all I got!” Without the dog, he will be all alone, which is really sad.

At the end of the book, even George becomes pitiful. When George heard that Lennie was in trouble again, he is very sad. Steinbeck wrote, “When he heard the news, he turned away so the others couldn’t see his face. His head hung low and his hands shook without him telling them to” (page 142). Automatically, at finding out what had happened to his friend, George hangs his head and begins to shake. He is so upset that he no longer has control over his own body. This continues when he goes to find Lennie. “George tried to steady his hands and his voice, ‘You wanna… hear about the… the place we gonna get someday? I… I know you like to hear ‘bout it” (page 152).

In conclusion, Steinbeck describes his characters as being very sad and pitiful.

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The Peculiarities Of Steinbeck’s Characters In Of Mice And Men. (2022, July 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from
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