Its title declares derivation. We are both extremes if any of these creatures is less, and we are guilty by association.
This book is a literary device, and John Steinbeck is a technician. He doesn’t write, he creates. The images are soundly vivid prior to his installation of meaningful description. His writing is exact. His images, his story, are not be interpreted, but to be read. He is very clear in his vision. He uses a variety of explicit description which invites imagination to choose a venue, and see his enactment.
Light is his method, his mode which entices the reader’s acceptance within his story. The character personalities within this work he directs to accept his narration just as they would evade the depths of dark (to be without light, to be obscure or dim), and even more importantly, he challenges their negligence in avoidance of crude brilliance and the constancy of radiance. (Constancy may be a theme throughout his body of work.) He is the light, (p. 37), « Although there was evening brightness showing through the windows of the bunk house, inside it was dusk. » He is at the scene, though unseen, (p. 27), « The sun square was on the floor now… » He is the burning rays of sun and always to be respected.
George, the lesser of two evils, should be the bigger man. Though George provides acceptability for the frailty of the weakness in Lennie’s self-assured vulnerabilities, George is apathetic to Lennie’s plight. Lennie is strong, Lennie is powerful, Lennie needs constant feedback, and George provides feedback without significant guidance. Lennie is the embodiment of hope. Lennie is admiration, and he seeks acceptance from the authority of brotherhood and the bonds created over time. Lennie has a depth of trust for friendship which eclipses common sense and leaves him weak. The writing of this story begs the observer to choose sides. George is prosperity, he’s pushy, he’s clever, he might, as well, feel burdened by authority. Lennie is admiration, he seeks a better life but needs resolute boundaries. George chides with utter knowledge of superiority. Lennie wants to gain acceptance, and George wants relief.
These characters, Lennie and George, encompass the plot. One would argue they are the primary characters. Slim is omnipresent. Slim is the hero (the protagonist if he teaches), he is the main character, (p. 31), « His ear heard more than was said to him… ». If this writer could be written into this story, Slim would be his disguise, (p. 31), « … he moved into the room, and he moved with a majesty only achieved by royalty and master craftsmen. » Slim is evidence of God, and of God’s assistance, should reassurance trump need.
Steinbeck’s stories have a crux. This book says, « There is no moral, and you have no dilemma. » God can be found where He is needed. The lesson is in knowing to look.
It is remarkable to note that John Steinbeck had a personal symbol for his preoccupation, and that his passion was memorialized (see above link to description).