Throughout the Book Lennie
My little sister has made me put on the movie Minions and watch it with her countless times. I, being older, found having to watch tiny yellow one eyed beings to speak gibberish about bananas for multiple hours at a time excruciatingly painful. This characteristic of children wanting to hear or see a story over and over again is common, though as one gets older this characteristic seems to pass. This childish characteristic is also seen in Lennie Smalls in the book Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. In this book, the author portrays Lennie Smalls as fitting the child archetype.
Throughout the book Lennie seen to fulfill the child archetype based on things he does. One time this can be seen is how Lennie reacts once George takes the dead mouse he had in his pocket, “He heard Lennie’s whimpering cry and wheeled about…Lennie’s lip quivered and tears started in his eyes”(Steinbeck, 5). This quote supports my claim that Lennie’s character falls under the child archetype because the fact that Lennie was holding a dead mouse in the first place for his comfort seems quite childish, even though it is because of his autism. His behavior of whispering and quivering because he has to give up something as simple as a rotting mouse is also a behavior that is very similar to what a child would do in a similar situation. A second time that the reader can observe this is when most of the guys went to town, so Lennie went into Crook’s room, You go on get outta my room.
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I ain’t wanted in the bunk house, and you ain’t wanted in my room.’ Why ain’t you wanted?’ Lennie asked. ‘Cause I’m black” (Steinbeck, 68). This is supports that Lennie’s character is a clear example of the child archetype because Lennie can’t understand racism. Lennie doesn’t think of Crooks as being different from himself and he sees everyone as equal as long as they’re nice. Lennie looks at things is own way and doesn’t accept the same racial prejudice that everyone else in the society does, which is can be seen as a childlike characteristic since this is a similar outlook that many younger people experience.
In the book, another way the author shows the child archetype through Lennie by the way that others treat him. “‘George says I ain’t to have nothing to do with you talk to you or nothing.'” (Steinbeck,86). The child archetype can be seen in Lennie in this quote because of the way he listens to George. George treats Lennie as his child giving him orders on what and what not to do. Lennie does as a child would and listens to George when he’s says not to get involved with Curley’s wife, not thinking for himself or making his own decisions.This is seen again when George and Slim speak about Lennie in the bunkhouse, Slim had not moved.
His calm eyes followed Lennie out of the door. “Jesus,” he said. “He’s jes’ like a kid, ain’t he.” “Sure, he’s jes like a kid. There ain’t no more harm in him than a kid neither, except he’s so strong.” (Steinbeck, 43). This is evidence that Lennie is apart of the child archetype because people, like Slim, see him as a child. This means that his behavior resembles a child so much that even though he’s likely around the same age as George, people treat him/see him as a young boy that is not a threat despite his very large build.
In conclusion, because of the way Lennie acts and the way people treat him in the novel Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck portrays Lennie Smalls as fitting the child archetype. The child archetype is seen in many books in certain characters. Are there any characters from other books you think also fit this archetype?