Slim is the “prince of the ranch” (pg. 33) and a man held in the utmost view of respect. When we are first introduced to this character, he is described as a man whose “authority was so great that his word was taken on any subject, be it politics or love… His face was ageless… His ear heard more than was said to him, and his slow speech had overtones not of thought, but of understanding beyond thought.” (pg. 33) Past his optimal physical attributes, tall and built, Slim is the most caring man of the bunkhouse. He welcomes George and Lennie into the group without hesitation and even gives Lennie a pup. Along with his compassion, he has an air of dignity and understanding, as displayed during George’s recounting of the incident in Weed. His indiscrimination of Lennie as well as Crooks shows he is a fair man who does what is right, not what is best for him. Slim is one of few men who would risk his own well-being in order to save another, as he did when Lennie was under attack by Curly. In all aspects, Slim represents the connection between the proletariat and the aristocracy of America. He is somewhat of a middleman, for he could fit into either category and does not discriminate based upon status.
Curly, the boss’s son, is undoubtedly harboring many feeling of insignificance. His small stature and status among the guys in the ranch obviously make him feel inferior, as they would anyone. The constant worry of his wife’s fidelity as well as his insecurities about himself and his appearance haunt him throughout each day, causing him to lash out and therefore be labeled as a “punk” by the other guys in the bunkhouse. He has an advantage based upon his size though, for it makes him more able to pick fights with bigger men than he, like Lennie. He harbors a jealousy towards Slim that is unrelenting, for he desires the kind of respect that Slim possesses. It is through these actions that Curly represents acceptance and the quest to achieve something in life. Everyone, be it George and Lennie’s dream for land of their own, or Curly’s desire to be held in respect, has a need for something that they view as something that would make their lives that much better.
Crooks, the stable buck, is the outsider of the group. He lives in a separate room than the rest of the men and pretty much stays out of sight and out of mind. In addition to this social seclusion, his physical attributes add to the fact that he is not like the other ranchers. Crooks has resentment for the other men whom he associates with over a game of horseshoes, and is very cynical about the world around him. He frightens Lennie with his assumptions of abandonment, and nearly deflates George, Lennie, and Candy’s aspiration of owning the land they dream about. Because of his negativity, he represents the doubt that lies within anyone with a dream. Every thought that crosses Crook’s mind is something negative; he is calloused to the feeling of hope, having abandoned it a long time ago. There is definitely a sliver of this attribute hidden inside George at times when he doubt the validity of this fairy tale in which he lives; always dreaming of something more. Yet it is this kind of attitude that holds people back and prevents them from pursuing their most important of dreams.