Marginalization in the Book, “Of Mice and Men”

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Marginalizationin the Book, “Of Mice and Men”


Inthe first two pages of the book “Of Mice and Men” we arepresented with two characters, Lennie and George. The mostmarginalized character of the two so far is Lennie. He is George’scompanion, and they are headed to a farm. Lennie’s marginalizationis based on the fact that he is illustrated as being of unstable mind(Steinbeck,1965).He seems to be oblivious of conventional manners he flung himself inthe still pool to drink despite being warned by George that he risksbeing sick again. He does that despite admitting that the water looksscummy (Steinbeck,1965).

Anotheract of marginalization is Lennie being equated with animals, he isdescribed as huge, having a misshapen face, with large pale eyes, andsloping shoulder. “He walked heavily, dragging his feet a little,the way a bear drags his paws,” this depicts Lennie as a man withviolent tendencies(Steinbeck, 1965).He is also compared to a horse, “his huge companion dropped hisblankets and flung himself down and drank from the surface of thegreen pool drank with long gulps, snorting into the water like ahorse. The small man stepped nervously beside him,”(Steinbeck, 1965).This portrays Lennie as an animal that has to be restrained fromdrinking too much water it shows that Lennie cannot control hisurges. He is also described as having paws instead of hands “Lenniedabbled his big paw in the water and wiggled his fingers, so thewater arose in little splashes rings widened across the pool to theother side and came back again. Lennie watched them go. Look, George.Look what I have done.” It also shows that like an idiot, he doesnot realize that all actions bear reactions(Steinbeck, 1965).

Thefirst introduction of George and Lennie shows us that Lennie is aninferior man, though they are described as having similar clothing,the difference is implied. George is described as the man who isquick, small, and strong with defined features, whereas Lennie isdescribed as having sloping shoulders, walking heavily, and dragginghis feet. When the two friends are walking, Lennie is always seenwalking behind George. Lennie’s inferiority is further cemented byhis depiction of copying George’s actions. “Lennie, who had beenwatching, imitated George exactly. He pushed himself back, drew uphis knees, embraced them, and looked over to George to see whether hehad it just right. He pulled his hat down a little more over hiseyes, the way George’s hat was,”(Steinbeck, 1965).

Lennie’sshortcomings are not self-inflicted he is portrayed as a man whowants to be self-aware but keeps on failing. When he tells Georgethat, “I tried not to forget. Honest to God I did, George,”(Steinbeck, 1965).His disabilities come from his state of mind of which he has nocontrol over, this affects his interactions because his friend Georgeis frustrated at how many times he has to remind Lennie of where theyare going. George does not seem to be aware of his friend’s mentalstate he thinks that he is plainly stupid. It is apparent when hetells him, “you’re a crazy bastard!”(Steinbeck, 1965).

Theauthor creates a weak character, Lennie, to magnify his companion’sstrengths. Through Lennie’s weaknesses, George is portrayed as amentally sound person, a caring, and a patient man. He achieves allthese qualities by helping Lennie out he reminds Lennie not to drinktoo much water lest he becomes sick, and he is patient with Lenniethough he always seems to forget where they are headed. Thus,Lennie’s character has been used in the book to showmarginalization.


Steinbeck,&nbspJ.(1965). OfMice and Men.[PDF]

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