Of Mice and Men

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Lennie's Dark Side


In Chapter 3, readers are introduced to some of Lennie's undesirable characteristics. During the fight with Curley, they witness first-hand his ability to exert extreme strength and injury when frightened. Then, shortly thereafter, they see his irrational side surface when he becomes angered by the idea of his future cats hurting his future rabbits.

How does Steinbeck keep the reader's sympathy for Lennie intact during these events?


Steinbeck has done enough groundwork to portray Lennie as childlike and harmless throughout the story so far. Therefore, readers are not likely to change their minds about him from these two events.


Lennie's strength is demonstrated during the fight with Curley, but he only acts in self-defense so the injury he causes is justified.


Lennie's anger at the cats is justified because it is only in response to George's suggestion that he protect the rabbits from the cats.


Steinbeck does not try to keep Lennie's reputation intact with the readers. Rather, he wants them to see Lennie for what he is, angry, irrational, and dangerous.


Answers B and C are both correct.