Power is shown in many different forms within the novel; physical, mental, coercive and legitimate. I think that Lennie shows the most physical power in the novel, as Curley threatens Lennie and punches him numerous times Lennie just takes the hits until George tells Lennie to “get him”, Lennie doesn’t have any mental power, it is George that thinks for Lennie and Lennie protects George physically.
Curley demonstrates legitimate power in the way that he uses his position of being the bosses son (second highest position on the ranch) to threaten people with a canning (firing). He has a very prominent insecurity, he hates men who are bigger than him, because he is small. He tries to prove himself by picking fights with the bigger men on the ranch, like he did to Lennie but this was the end to him picking fights because Lennie beat him by crushing his hand. Lennie doesn’t have the intelligence to fight back until George tells him to do so.
Curley’s Wife uses lots of coercive and legitimate power. She tries to flirt with men on the ranch but they all seem to have a rule of staying away from her because they think she is a “rat trap” or piece of “jail bate”, meaning she would get them into trouble if she got the chance. Her flirtatious actions towards Lennie at the end of the novel ,where she allows him to touch her hair, results in her death because Lennie wouldn’t let go of her hair and it resulted in him gripping her too tight and he broke her neck.
Slim has lots of power over people on the ranch because of his reputation of being a good guy and all the men seem to confess in him almost as a priest-like figure. He is the jerkline skinner which mean that he is the leader of the ranchers and isn’t like Curley who abuses his legitimate power. He makes friends with George quite quickly and they talk about Lennie in a pitiful but admiring way (pitiful about his lack in intelligence but they admire him for his physical strength).
Carlson abuses his power...