Of Mice and Men

Lennie Small Character Analysis

George's companion. Lennie is huge and immensely strong, but a mental disability makes him entirely dependent on George, especially after his Aunt Clara dies (before the novella begins). Lennie is the most innocent, gentle, and kind character in the novel, and his sole dream is to tend rabbits and live off the "fatta the lan'" on a farm that he and George will own. In the end, Lennie and his innocent dream fall prey to Curley's revenge and George's mercy, two powerful adult emotions beyond Lennie's control or comprehension.

Lennie Small Quotes in Of Mice and Men

The Of Mice and Men quotes below are all either spoken by Lennie Small or refer to Lennie Small. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Broken Plans Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of Of Mice and Men published in 1993.
Part 1 Quotes
Slowly, like a terrier who doesn't want to bring a ball to its master, Lennie approached, drew back, approached again.
Related Characters: Lennie Small
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cill

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Of Mice and Men quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Well, we ain't got any,' George exploded. 'Whatever we ain't got, that's what you want. God a'mighty, if I was alone I could live so easy. I could go get a job an' work, an' no trouble....An' whatta I got,' George went on furiously. 'I got you! You can't keep a job and you lose me ever' job I get. Jus' keep me shovin' all over the country all the time. An' that ain't the worst. You get in trouble. You do bad things and I got to get you out.
Related Characters: George Milton (speaker), Lennie Small
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don't belong no place....With us it ain't like that. We got a future.... An' why? Because...because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that's why.
Related Characters: George Milton (speaker), Lennie Small
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Exc

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Part 2 Quotes
"Ain't many guys travel around together," he mused. "I don't know why. Maybe ever'body in the whole damn world is scared of each other."
Related Characters: Slim (speaker), George Milton, Lennie Small
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Part 3 Quotes
"We could live offa the fatta the lan'."
Related Characters: Lennie Small (speaker)
Related Symbols: George and Lennie's Farm
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Part 5 Quotes
Why can't I talk to you? I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely.
Related Characters: Curley's Wife (speaker), Lennie Small
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

He pawed up the hay until it partly covered her.
Related Characters: Lennie Small, Curley's Wife
Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.
Part 6 Quotes
No, Lennie. I ain't mad. I never been mad, an' I ain't now. That's a thing I want ya to know.
Related Characters: George Milton (speaker), Lennie Small
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Get the entire Of Mice and Men LitChart as a printable PDF.
Of mice and men.pdf.medium

Lennie Small Character Timeline in Of Mice and Men

The timeline below shows where the character Lennie Small appears in Of Mice and Men. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...riverbed of the Salinas River a few miles south of Soledad, California. George Milton and Lennie Small, two men dressed in denim, are walking along a path on the riverbed. George,... (full context)
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
The men stop. Lennie drinks huge gulps from a pool of standing water next to the river. George warns... (full context)
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...George complains about the bus driver who dropped them off too far from the ranch, Lennie asks where they're going. George reminds Lennie about their plans, but stops when he notices... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
George throws the mouse away, and tells Lennie they're going to a ranch like the one they just left in Weed. George also... (full context)
Male Friendship Theme Icon
Lennie remembers that they were "run out" of Weed, but George says they ran away before... (full context)
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
George decides they should spend the night where they are. Lennie goes off to find firewood. While he's gone George thinks of him as a "poor... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
The men have a dinner of canned beans. When Lennie complains about the lack of ketchup, George again says how much easier his life would... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Lennie offers to leave George alone and go live in a cave. Lennie imagines that he... (full context)
Male Friendship Theme Icon
George says he wants Lennie to stay with him. He comments that ranch workers are always lonely, but he and... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
At Lennie's urging, George describes their future. They'll save money until they can buy their own farm.... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
As they go to sleep, George asks Lennie to take a close look at their surroundings. He tells Lennie that if he gets... (full context)
Part 2
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
George and Lennie arrive at the ranch the next morning. At the bunkhouse, an old man with no... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...bus driver for their lateness. When the boss asks about their skills, George speaks for Lennie. The boss gets suspicious when Lennie repeats something George says. (full context)
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...seen a man go out of his way for another man like George does for Lennie, and suspects that George might be taking advantage of Lennie. George lies, and says that... (full context)
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
After the boss leaves, Lennie asks George if what he said was true. George says they were just lies, and... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...son, enters, looking for his father. Curley, who wears fancy boots, quickly starts picking on Lennie, who refuses to speak. After Curley leaves, Candy says Curley is a lightweight boxer and... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
When Candy leaves, George tells Lennie to stay away from Curley. Fighting with Curley, he warns, will get them fired. Lennie... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Slim tells her that Curley is back at the main house. When she's gone, Lennie calls her "purty." George warns him to stay away from her. Lennie, frightened, begs to... (full context)
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...is a leader and authority among the other ranch hands. After talking to George and Lennie and seeing their friendship, Slim is impressed. He says it's rare to see two men... (full context)
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Carlson, another ranch hand, introduces himself to George and Lennie, then asks Slim about his dog. Slim says she gave birth to nine puppies, but... (full context)
Part 3
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Slim agrees to give Lennie a puppy. When George thanks him, Slim says Lennie is the best worker he's ever... (full context)
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
George explains that he grew up with Lennie and took care of him after his Aunt Clara died. George admits that at first... (full context)
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
George also tells Slim what happened in Weed. Lennie touched a woman's dress. She objected. He panicked and wouldn't let go. The woman claimed... (full context)
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Lennie enters with his puppy under his coat. George orders him to return the puppy to... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
...to come to a brothel with him the next night. George declines, saying he and Lennie are trying to save money. (full context)
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Lennie and Carlson enter the bunkhouse. Curley enters soon after, again looking for his wife. He... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
George and Lennie stay behind, and soon begin talking about their farm. Having overheard George's description of the... (full context)
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
As the other men return, George warns Lennie and Candy to keep the farm a secret. Candy whispers back that he should have... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
...for suspecting him, and all the men mock Curley for being so insecure. Curley thinks Lennie is also laughing at him, though Lennie was just smiling while thinking of tending rabbits... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Curley wants to fire George and Lennie, but Slim tells him if he does no one on the ranch will respect him.... (full context)
Part 4
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Crooks, whose nickname stems from his crooked back, sits on his bunk in the stable. Lennie stops by Crooks' room, but Crooks demands he leave. Crooks shouts that if he's not... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
As they talk, Lennie forgets the farm is a secret and mentions it. Crooks thinks this just one of... (full context)
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Suddenly angry and bitter, Crooks tells Lennie that George might not return to the ranch. In terrible fear, Lennie nearly attacks Crooks. (full context)
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Crooks says he was just trying to make Lennie understand what it's like to be black and, therefore, alone. "A guy needs somebody," Crooks... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
...says he hears the men returning. Curley's wife leaves. On the way out, she thanks Lennie for beating up her husband. (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
The other men return. When George discovers Lennie was talking about the farm, he gets angry. But Crooks says Curley's wife was right,... (full context)
Part 5
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
On Sunday, Lennie sits in the barn stroking his puppy, which is dead. He fears this means he... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Curley's wife enters. Lennie tells her he's not allowed to talk to her, but she says no one will... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Lennie starts talking about the farm and rabbits, and explains that he likes to pet soft... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Aware that he's done "another bad thing," Lennie sneaks out of the bunkhouse. (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
...He runs and gets George, and the two of them realize that Curley will lynch Lennie. Candy then asks if the plan to buy the farm is now officially off. George... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Slim, Whit, Carlson, Curley, Crooks, and George enter the barn. Curley demands that Lennie be killed. Carlson says his gun is missing and guesses Lennie stole it. Slim tells... (full context)
Part 6
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Hiding in the brush by the river, Lennie has a vision of his Aunt Clara, who tells him George would have had a... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
George shows up. He is quiet and not angry. Lennie begs George to yell at him. George does, but he shows no real anger. Lennie... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Lennie then asks George to describe their farm. George does, and tells Lennie to take off... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
The other men hear the gun shot. George tells Carlson that Lennie had his gun and that he shot him after wrestling it away from him. Slim... (full context)