Character Strengths and Weaknesses in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men

Categories: Of Mice and Men

'Of Mice and Men' Steinbeck presents his characters as being weak & strong. Using 2 characters write about them and how they are represented. 'Of Mice and Men' the characters are represented with many strengths and weaknesses. The two main characters, George and Lennie are mainly used to represent these things. The strengths and weaknesses are either physical, the characters morals or character traits. Depending on each character the strengths are either more than the weaknesses or the same... but why is that?

One of the main characters Lennie has an obvious strength which is his physical strength, "strong as a bull".

He is big and able to protect himself and George. As Lennie and George travel a lot on the highway his strength and size meant no one would try to harm him or George. Lennie is compared to animals so him being animal-like he has animal instincts and animal cunning. Even though Lennie isn't smart he uses animal cunning to manipulate George and get away with it.

Get quality help now
checked Verified writer

Proficient in: Animal

star star star star 5 (339)

“ KarrieWrites did such a phenomenal job on this assignment! He completed it prior to its deadline and was thorough and informative. ”

avatar avatar avatar
+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

Also Lennie guilt-trips George a lot to stop George being angry at him and makes Lennie himself feel better.

Lennie is a "good worker" so can find jobs easily, during the Depression Lennie's strength was a plus to have someone who is strong in order to get jobs. Lennie is both animal-like and childlike, he hasn't matured like the people around him so isn't prejudice towards anyone. It shows that not everyone is prejudice it'd just as you grow up and learn you become prejudice towards others and that you don't have to be prejudice.

Get to Know The Price Estimate For Your Paper
Number of pages
Email Invalid email

By clicking “Check Writers’ Offers”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We’ll occasionally send you promo and account related email

"You must agree to out terms of services and privacy policy"
Write my paper

You won’t be charged yet!

This means he treats people like equals; he treats Crooks like a normal person unlike the rest, and is more pure-minded unlike the people on the ranch.

On the other hard George has many strengths being the only main character who hasn't got a disability. George is a smart character, because he travels with Lennie he seems even smarter, he uses his cleverness to get himself and Lennie out of trouble. George is the hero in the novel, he is the one Lennie looks to for guidance, a parental figure and during the novel we the readers look to George for him to do the right thing. When George kills Lennie even though it is a harsh thing to do it took a lot of courage from George to be able to do the right thing to protect his friend.

In the 1920's George was seen as the typical man; white, male, young and able therefore on the ranch he isn't a victim of discrimination as he is the typical man. George also has a dream, the American Dream "have a little house and a couple of acres an a cow and some pigs", that dream keeps him going as he knows what it's like having something of your own so is working to make that dream come true. Unlike other ranch men George isn't lonely as he has Lennie so stops him from going mad and becoming bitter.

George's strengths represent a typical person's strength that many have but not all, for example Crooks isn't white so instead of his race being a strength it is a weakness. For weaknesses Lennie is the opposite of George, he isn't very smart as he has the mentality of a child which is a strength as well as a weakness. Lennie is a child like character who can't reason, Lennie never wants to 'get into trouble' so ends up doing bad things unintentionally. Lennie also forgets important things like vital information and things he is meant to learn from.

Whenever he makes a mistake he never learns from it so ends up doing the same thing over and over again which eventually leads to the wife's death. He is very strong so harms things without meaning to: the mice, the puppy and the wife. Lennie not being in control of his strength also leads to his own death. As he is very child-like he is manipulated very easily especially by the wife when they were alone in the barn. Lastly Lennie's love of "petting" leads to deaths of animals which he never thinks is his fault.

He blames the mice, the puppy and the wife for their own deaths rather than himself which shows that he has no conscience. Lennie has no sense of moral responsibility which shows something isn't right with him also could show signs of him being a sociopath. The main deaths in the novel are caused by Lennie but also caused by his child like mentality which doesn't enable him to realise what he is doing. It shows that if it wasn't for his disability or if he was helped with his disability the deaths could've been avoided and never occurred.

Where Lennie's weakness is his child-like mentality George's weakness is Lennie and his fear of loneliness. During the novel Lennie loses George jobs and holds George back, "I could get along so easy and so nice if I didn't have you on my tail". Lennie stops George from doing things he enjoys as he has to look after Lennie and get Lennie out of trouble. George doesn't get any where in the novel because of Lennie, he never gets his dream this is because the novel has a circular structure where nothing is achieved.

Also George is afraid of being alone; he wants someone to look out for him which is why he stays with Lennie. As he doesn't want to be alone George doesn't realise that Lennie is a danger risk to others and leaves him alone twice in the novel. George seems to be blind to the fact that Lennie is dangerous to others but as well as he doesn't want to be lonely he wants a life as well. However it's shown that George does know that Lennie is dangerous, "I should of knew" he always knew Lennie was going to do something bad but wanted Lennie's company until that bad thing happened.

In conclusion Steinbeck uses the two main characters to represent his ideas of strengths and weaknesses to get the message across clearly. The characters who go around together are almost complete opposites who surprisingly get on well with each other. Steinbeck uses them to show that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses whether it be physical, moral values or character traits everyone is different. Also Lennie's strength of not being prejudice shows that everyone is equal.

Updated: Apr 29, 2023
Cite this page

Character Strengths and Weaknesses in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

Character Strengths and Weaknesses in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men essay
Live chat  with support 24/7

👋 Hi! I’m your smart assistant Amy!

Don’t know where to start? Type your requirements and I’ll connect you to an academic expert within 3 minutes.

get help with your assignment