Of Mice and Men
Character Analysis





Shannon Migli


Schenectady High School, Schenectady, NY


The main characters in the novel, Of Mice and Men, include Lennie, George, Candy, Curley's Wife, and Crooks.  Here is a closer look into each of the character's personalities.  Once you finish reading about each character, please answer the questions at the bottom of the page.




Lennie is a large man who is mentally delayed.  Lennie has the mind of a child and acts as a one as well.  His character is helpless without the help of his friend George.  Lennie thinks the world of George, no matter how irritated George gets with him.  Lennie also loves to pet soft things.  He carries mice around in his pocket so he has something soft to pet.  Lennie's love for soft things ultimately determines his fate at the end of the novel.  Lennie is kind and loving. All he wants to do is to please George so he will let him tend the rabbit's when they buy their farm.  Unlike any of the other characters in this novel, Lennie's character does not grow or experience any change throughout the novel.  He is the same person at the opening of the book as he is at the end of the book.





George is a small man with a short temper. George travels with Lennie and takes on the responsibility of caring and watching out for him.  This feels like a burden on George at times, and he feels his life would be better and easier if Lennie was not with him. He dreams of having his own life, a girlfriend and the freedom from being a "babysitter."  Although George feels this way, he never strays from protecting Lennie. George feels this is his main purpose in life.





Candy is the old handyman at the ranch where George and Lennie find jobs.  As the result of an accident on the ranch, Candy is left with only one hand.  He fears that the boss of the ranch will ask him to leave soon because of his disability and inability to work the ranch with one hand.  Candy meets George and Lennie and becomes a part of their dream to buy land and build a farm.  Candy is important to George and Lennie because he has the money to buy the land.  This dream helps distract Candy throughout the novel of the harsh reality of his life.







Curley's Wife is a pretty woman who is living a lonely life on the ranch. She does not have friends and her husband does not pay her much attention.  Therefore, she seeks out the attention of the men who work on the ranch, which causes problems between them and her husband.  Curley's wife is portrayed in the novel as a "tramp" or a "tart."  Her character is known to seek out the weaknesses in others.  This is why she seeks out Lennie, which in the end, would be the biggest mistake of her life.







Crooks is the black stable-hand who gets his name from his crooked back.  Crooks is a very lonely man.  He is the only black man on the ranch and is segregated the others.  All Crooks wants to do is to sit and play cards in the bunkhouse with the other men.  However, because Crooks is black, he is not aloud into the bunkhouse. He wants to feel like he belongs.  Lennie finds Crooks one night in his room and after Crooks plays a joke on Lennie, he threatens Crooks physically.  At that point, Crooks realizes that Lennie is slow and thinks like a child.  Crooks then invites Lennie to stay and Crooks for one night is not lonely.  This incident leads Crooks to become part of George and Lennie's dream of buying a farm.


Please answer the following questions about each character discussed above and write your answers on a separate piece of paper.  There are also links below that will give you additional insight to each of these characters in the novel, as well as to help you answer the questions.


1.)     Why is Lennie so dependent upon George?



2.)     How did Candy lose his hand?



3.)     What type of animal does Lennie keep in his pocket?



4.)     Why does Lennie keep this animal in his pocket?



5.)     Why does Curley's wife seek out the other men on the ranch?



6.)     Why isn't Crooks aloud in the bunkhouse with the other ranch hands?



7.)     How does George feel about his responsibility of taking care of Lennie?



8.)     How does Lennie feel about George?



9.)     What ultimately determines Lennie's fate at the end of the novel?



10.)        Why is Candy afraid the boss of the ranch will fire him soon?





For additional information about these characters in the novel, Of Mice and Men, please click on the links below.