In the first chapters, it shows that Lennie is a simple minded man who likes to pet things that are soft and delicate. George and Lennie are traveling through to the farm for work. They had to escape from the town they were previously at because Lennie had an incident with one of the women in the town. He was a rather large, frightening fellow, but the thing was he didn’t know how strong he actually was. He went up to a young pretty or ‘purty’ woman as the beauty in her soft dress attracted him to her. Just as he did with mice, he insisted on touching it. That is all, he didn’t want to do anything else, just feel the soft dress. Because of her frightened screams, he grabbed onto the dress and did not let go out of fear and panic. This led him into much trouble and the local people to go after him. George took Lennie and they escaped the town. This is foreshadowing to the ending scene because once again, Lennie just had to have a touch and once again, led him to trouble that even George could not fix.
Throughout this novel there is a consistent innocent act one after the other, not only does Lennie not realise what he is doing to himself or the people he is physically hurting but he doesn’t realise how much pain he is putting George through. Everything Lennie does affects George because he feels responsible for every single one of Lennies actions. I believe this links to the title of the novel ‘Of Mice and Men’ which may mean from the killing of a mouse to the killing of a man.
Lennie comes across as a mentally challenged young man who is forgetful of the things he is told to do, for example he forgets about what he did in Weed, when George tells him not to talk to Curley or anyone at the ranch in fear of Lennie getting into trouble again. ‘I tried not to forget. Honest to god I did George.’ At this point Steinbeck gives us a clue about the future and he gets you thinking deeper into what Lennie is saying, because if Lennie forgets a lot then what’s saying he won’t forget about something bigger in the future, like when George says not to go into the barn but he does. If he hadn’t forgotten then he wouldn’t have met Curley’s wife again or killed her, or in this case ended up dead himself. This also shows how childlike Lennie is. He is a very stroppy character and believes everything should be done his way, for example when he asks for beans with ketchup, even though they don’t have any, therefore he refuses to eat them. His childlike behaviour comes across very strongly when he starts petting the mice and doesn’t want to give them to George to get rid of.
Throughout the whole of the novel it is shown that everything Lennie loves he kills, for example the mice he likes to pet and the pups George gets him in hope they will keep Lennie out of trouble. As the animals he loves and kills gradually get bigger in size it shows the reader that he may kill a human if he finds someone he loves. There is a lot of mercy shown in this novel but the mercy is mostly shown towards animals like when Candy’s dog was ill and the best thing for him was to be put down, only Candy did this with the intention of doing what was best for the dog and no one else. However, the ranch men thought different. Candy's dog was in terrible condition. It was nearly blind, could barely hear, had arthritis that was so bad, the old…