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For my coursework I am going to analyse the character of Slim and say what contribution he makes in ‘Of Mice and Men’. I will describe what he says, what he does, what other people think of him and his relationship with the other ranch hands. We first meet Slim on page fifty five, this is where the lines ‘he moved with a majesty only achieved by royalty and master craftsmen’ and ‘the prince of the ranch’ show how highly Slim is regarded by the ranch hands they use words that describe royalty like majesty, master and prince.
Slim is not only respected for his skill as a ranch hand as they say ‘he could kill fly on the wheelers butt with a bull whip without touching the mule’ but he is seen as a man who thinks things through especially before speaking when it says ‘his ear heard more… ‘ Finally to show how highly he is respected the text says ‘ his authority was so great that his word was taken on any subject, be it politics or love’.
Steinbeck from the start makes Slim above the other men and this is continuous throughout the whole novel till the end of the story. Slim first major contribution is when George confides in him about how him and Lennie travel round together. Slim is clever in the way he brings this topic up as he says ‘funny how you an’ him string along together. ‘ But he says it calmly and invitingly to George, also the tone Slim uses offers confidence to George to talk. There is a line that say ‘Slim neither encouraged nor discouraged him.
He just sat back quiet and receptive’ this shows that Slim is a good listener and does not push people to talk but people after starting a conversation with him start to open up and this is what George does and he has not known Slim long but feels that he can trust Slim and tell him about when he makes Lennie go in the Sacramento river and he gets that off his chest. After being able to confess to Slim about his crime against Lennie George believes that Slim is a good man and trustworthy so he tells him about the situation in Weed and this shows how much integrity Slim has and how he now acquired Georges respect.
I feel Slim comforts George when he says ‘he ain’t mean, I can tell a mean guy a mile off’ as well as being someone to confess too and talk too. I feel this moves the story forward as we have now filled in gaps out about George and Lennie’s past and how they met, also how George has learnt of Lennie’s behaviour and aunt Clara, the bringing together of the two guys You see how Slim is highly respected by the ranch hands when they turn to his decision when Carlson wants to kill Candy’s old dog.
I feel there is pressure put on Slim throughout this scene when both parties of Candy and Carlson turn to him for advice and he has takes time over his decision and thinks it through show that he looks at everyone’s aspect in depth and decides what’s best and this is as reason why ranch hands look too him for advice. I think Slim does not really wanted be involved as it says ‘he seemed to shake himself free for speech’.
Also during this scene you see how he is admired when the man brings the magazine to share with Slim and it is like he is a little child trying to get Slim’s friendship but something, which seems treasured within the ranch hands is Slim’s respect. But Slim is dragged back into the debate of Candy’s dog right at the end and I feel that Slim has the power over the dog’s life but can see why it should be killed as it is getting old and is quality of life is low but he wants the killing to be done properly and that is why he tells Carlson to take a shovel.
I feel that when Slim says loudly ‘one of my lead mules got a bad hoof. Got to get some tar off it’ he is trying to break the silence and say that life still goes on after death. I feel Slim shows the ranch hands that they should stand up to people when he is arguing with Curley and outwits him, but his respect is emphasised by the fact that Curley can not really answer back and he is in a higher position on the ranch, and you are told of Curley’s violent nature and not once does he even physically threaten Slim, showing his importance on the ranch.
We see in this scene how Slim and Curley are two different people respected for different reasons, Slim is highly respected for sure as this scene shows but Curley is not really respected but feared as he likes to attack and bully the other workers. When Curley starts to beat lennie you are asked the question why does not Slim intervene in the situation but I feel this contribute to the ‘Of Mice and Men’ it could be that he underestimates Lennie’s true strength but we will never know.
I feel Slim uses his power to his advantage when he tells Curley to say that his hand got caught in a machine, he shows kindness to George and Lennie and true understanding of Lennie’s condition being physical and mental as he has been informed by George when he confides in him and his strength when he is moving the big bags of hay on the ranch. I feel that you see the strength of Slim’s character when Curley’s wife has died.
When he inspects Curley’s wife he does it with such softness and grace and shows respect for the dead, but he also understands there is no intention by lennie and the situation he will be in if Curley catches him and this is why he tries to stop Curley from going on the hunt for Lennie when he says “I think you better stay here with your wife” to Curley. Slim is the only ranch hand that understands the relationship between Lennie and George and so when George kills Lennie Slim is the only one who understands and that is why he tells him ‘a guy got to sometimes’ and ‘you hadda, George.
I swear you hadda. ‘ And by taking him to the pub for a drink is his way of comforting but you know Slim’s understanding goes much deeper than the Carlson and Curley when the last comment is made of the book. I conclude that Slim is a vital person in the book and is the only character apart from George who understands friendship and has a full set of morals. Slim has so much respect it is like a power and he uses this to exercise morals on the ranch hands. He is like the god of the story and is kind of too good to be true and John Steinbeck’s description makes him ideal.
The is one word that can sum up what everyone in the text thinks of him and that is respect and you wish that more ranch hands were like him. Throughout the whole of the story most ranch hands seem lonely but Slim never seems too I feel he has come to terms with the depression and accepts what seems to be the inevitable life of a migrant worker and that is too be alone but sees hope in George and Lennie. Also without a character like Slim, Curley would bully the ranch hands and he is so violent you are not sure what the story would be like without him.