Of Mice and Men, Is Lenny Insane?

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Ryan Nelson
9/21/2010
Criminology
Short Paper 1

In my opinion Lennie Small is not guilty of homicide due to insanity pertaining from his lack of cognitive ability, which can be determined by the irresistible impulse test. Lennie knew that murder was wrong but could not stop himself. Lennie is a gentle soul and would never harm anyone on purpose. He didn't know how to act when Curley's wife threatened to tell George that he touched her hair, which in turn would take his beloved rabbits away from him. In Lennie's mind there was no way that a future without his rabbits was possible. In order to understand why Lennie was unable to stop himself from killing Curley's wife we need to examine the factors that made him the way he was. George Milton, Lennie's traveling partner, is the main influence on why Lennie's irresistible impulse was so severe. From what we know about George he is a very cynical and controlling person. He himself has basically taken away Lennie's freedom of choice between right and wrong. Maybe George Milton should be the one on trial today. Take for instance the conversation they had before trying to get employment at the Ranch, “We're gonna go an' see the boss. Now, look-I'll give him the tickets, but you ain't gonna say a word. You jus' stand there and don't say nothing.” (Steinbeck, 6). George had belittled Lennie so much mentally that he was not even letting him talk. Another reason why Lennie Small was not able to stop himself from killing Curley's wife is his mental fixation with rabbits. The only thing Lennie can seem to remember or even feel any emotion for is rabbits. His entire life all he has wanted is a few rabbits to pet. Think about if it was only possible for you to think about one thing. If someone tried to take that one thing away from you. It would be your natural instinct to do anything to get that back, and with a mental handicap it would be impossible to stop yourself from doing so. Lennie's mental...
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