Lennie is the character I’ve heard the most about, probably because he’s the most memorable: the seeds of his eventual downfall are expertly planted in his first appearance—he’s helplessly easy to scare and far too strong to handle the soft things he loves to touch more than anything:
“You crazy fool. Don’t you think I could see your feet was wet where you went acrost the river to get it?” He heard Lennie’ wimpering cry and wheeled about. “Blubberin’ like a baby! A big guy like you. (10)
Lady, huh? Don’t you even remember who that lady was. That was your own Aunt Clara. An’ she stopped given’ ’em (mice) to ya. You always killed ’em. (11)
But I’m far more interested in George’s character. He’s the center of the novel: all of Lennie’s actions revolve around him and all the things he says or does in one way or another. Even though Lennie commits the accidental murder that climaxes the novel, it’s due to George’s warnings that he gets scared enough to panic and cause the death. George even motivates Lennie’s fantasies with his stories about the farm they’re going to buy—though it starts as a pleasant fantasy about Lennie being able to care for rabbits, Georgie himself starts to believe it as more than the mere carrot he uses to keep Lennie going.
I think I knowed from the very first. I think I knowed we’d never do her. He usta like to hear about it so much I got to thinking maybe we would. (92)