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KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS
This book is set in two places. It starts beside a stream, close to the Salinas River, a few miles South of Soledad. It then moves to a ranch, where the major part of the story is set. At the end of the novel, the setting comes back to where it started.
George and Lennie are introduced by the stream. They are on their way to a near-by ranch. The surrounding land is thick in vegetation and has its own wild life. Men frequent it, as there are ash piles made by many fires and the limbs of the sycamore tree have been smoothed by the many men who have sat on it.
The ranch, where the major part of the story takes place, appears isolated and lonely. It includes a ranch house, a bunkhouse where the ranch workers live, a barn, and a harness-room off the barn.
The protagonist and main character of the book. He is a caring, compassionate, and understanding human being who dreams of owning his own piece of land.
The obedient friend of George. He has a child’s mind and a giant’s body. It is these contrasting qualities that cause him problems.
One of the lonely ranch workers. He is a cripple, working as a ‘Swamper’.
A black ranch hand. He is sensible and neat, with a mind of his own. He is a lonely character, who is discriminated against, due to his race.
A ranch worker with leadership qualities. He commands respect from all on the ranch.
The boss’s son who is a light weight boxer. He picks fights with everybody on the ranch.
The only woman on the ranch. She is very flirtatious.
A brutal man. He objects to Candy keeping his old dog.
A ranch worker. He is sent to town to fetch the Sheriff after Curley’s wife is murdered.
A ‘mice fella’ (in Candy’s words). He is more concerned about his work on the ranch than anyone else.