GCSE English Revision - Of Mice And Men; Characters

6th May 2014

In the 1930’s mid-West few farm workers had real friendships like the one between Lennie and George. This adds poignancy to the novel. Unlike many other characters in the novel, they always have each other.

We've looked at George and Lennie as characters in previous posts, and you've probably got to know them fairly well throughout the novel. There are some other main and minor characters you need to be aware of, so take a look at this revision summary alongside our revision song. 


- Slim is the ‘jerkline skinner’ (head mule driver) at the ranch and is highly skilled at his job.

- Natural leader at the ranch and looked up to by most people.

- Slim seems to be the only character that is at peace with himself.

- Only after Slim agrees it is the right thing to do does Candy agree to shooting his old decrepit dog.

- He is the only person who understands the bond between Lennie and George and reassures George at the end of the book that he did the right thing and the only thing he could have done.


- Oldest of the ranch hands. Lost his hand in a work accident.

- Many of the major themes and most prominent symbols revolve around him.

- He is the man who cleans the bunkhouse (a swamper) and fears he will be let go when too old to work.

- Because of his fear, he does not get involved in the goings-on, does not challenge anything and accepts events in case he loses his job.

- Candy’s dog used to be an impressive sheep herder but had grown old, foul smelling and toothless.

- Candy was devastated following the shooting of the dog. This also serves as a stark warning to anyone on the farm who may have outgrown their usefulness.

- He is lonely and isolated and but befriends George and Lennie and offers his compensation money to help by the farm. This illustrates his desperate need to believe there is a world that is kinder and more loving than the one where he currently resides.

- After he discovers what Lennie has done he still pleads with George to follow their plans and buy the farm.


- The boss’s son, he does not need to work and has time on his hands.

- Wears high heeled boots to differentiate himself from the farm labourers.

- Small in stature.

- He is rumoured to be a prize fighter.

- He is mean spirited and aggressive.

- He looks to pick fights with larger men to make up for his small build.

- Recently married, he is jealous and possessive of his wife, although he still visits brothels.

Curley’s wife:

- The book is not kind in its portrayal of women.

- Women are seen as troublemakers bringing ruin and driving men to distraction.

- Curley’s wife is used as an example of this and we are told Curley’s aggressive demeanour has only gotten worse since the marriage.

- She is young, pretty and wears attractive clothes.

- She is flirtatious and spends much time in or around the bunkhouse.

- She is isolated and lonely, there are no other women in the vicinity and no-one wants to talk to her for fear of getting into trouble. Curley also doesn’t seem interested in her.

- She doesn’t seem to like Curley; she confides in Lennie she only married him after not receiving a letter inviting her to Hollywood.

- She does emerge as a complex and interesting character. At the beginning she is set out as a ‘tart’ or ‘tramp’ intent on destroying male happiness. Later in the book she admits feeling dissatisfied with her life.

- She displays an element of vulnerability which makes her human and belies her reputation as a ‘tramp’ or ‘tart’.



- Crooks is the African American stable hand.

- He is the only permanent employee.

- He is quick witted and gets his name from the shape of his back.

- As with many of the other characters, he is isolated and lonely.

- He cannot go to the bunkhouse nor socialise with the other men.

- The other men call him the ‘nigger’, illustrating how racism was commonplace and taken for granted. They did not wish this to be hurtful in calling him this but never thought to use his real name.

- He initially refuses entry to Lennie and Candy from his room because he, as a black man, cannot go in the white men’s bunkhouse. His desire for human contact prevails and he does let them in.

- Crooks is a disenfranchised character who uses his own vulnerability as an excuse and a weapon through which to attack those who are weaker than he is.

- He plays a trick on Lennie, telling him George was not going to return.

- He shows the harsh and embittering effects loneliness can have on human nature; we feel more sympathy for him as the causes of his cruel behaviour are made clearer.

- He has become defensive and aloof, but even so, he cannot help but ask if there may be room for him on George, Lennie and Candy’s farm.


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