Slim of Mice and Men

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How is the character of Slim important to the novel as a whole?

Slim is significant to providing a contrast to the depression and discrimination of the other characters on the ranch. His consistency makes him a tool of comparison and gives him a unique judge-like authority.

Slim is important to contextualise other characters on the ranch. Because Slim is describes with such zealous descriptions such as ‘God-like eyes’ he is quickly established as a character with an excellent moral conduct. In contrast, Curley is described as ‘alla time picking scraps with big guys’. With Slim, we can constantly compare characters with him, to intensify their weaknesses. For example, Slim has an ‘authority so great that his word was taken on any
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So whilst other characters aim to mistreat others to feel more powerful (e.g. Curley’s wife threatening to lynch Crooks}, Slim reassures us that there are more morally righteous people. In a way, whilst other characters such as Crooks see the American Dream failing, as society limits his potential due to racial code of the time, Slim has already achieved his dream. He is the successful ‘jerkline skinner’ who is looked up to, someone who has made a positive identity and impression on the ranch and who has achieved prosperity. He has therefore demonstrated that even migrant workers can achieve a somewhat fulfilled life if they look past the negatives. Slim is stuck in the same turbulent times, so Steinbeck uses his success to highlight an optimistic possibility for migrant workers who may read the novel.

As we have seen, Slim is significant in always being that constant, unchanging yardstick that highlights other characters’ weaknesses, but also strives to enliven other people’s lives through little interactions that other characters lack. His basic manners being seen as ‘good’ accentuates a weakened society of mistrust and broken communication, but Slim gives hope to readers all the
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