Study Guide

Of Mice and Men Weakness

By John Steinbeck


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Some weakness are obvious: Lennie is a few knives short of a cutlery drawer; Crooks is black and crippled; Curley is short; Curley's wife is, well, a woman. Only a few characters in Of Mice and Men seem to rise above their subordinate positions by being willing to pull the trigger when no one else will. But is there more to strength than wielding a gun? Do Slim and George avoid weakness through force of character as well as firearms?

Questions About Weakness

  1. What are the various weaknesses of the novel's different characters? Are any more serious than any others?
  2. Does George and Lennie's relationship make them weaker or stronger? In general, does having close relationships in this novel seem to help or hurt the characters?
  3. Does Lennie think of himself as weak? How do we interpret his mental weakness relative to his physical strength? Which defines his character more?

Chew on This

You can't win in Of Mice and Men: the weak are pitied, and the strong are condemned.

Steinbeck suggests that weakness is better than strength.