A Mercy Killing

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Mercy Killing: A quiet, painless death. A mercy killing is how Lennie died in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. A novel that tells the tragic story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant workers during the great depression in California. They hope to one day attain their shared dream of settling down on their own piece of land. Lennie Small is a mentally disabled but physically strong man who traveled with George. His dreams were to be “living off the fatta’ the lan” and being able to tend to rabbits. George Milton on the other hand was a quick-witted man who is friends with Lennie. George looks after Lennie and dreams of a better life of owning a ranch. George is pretty much Lennie’s conscience. For example George tells Lennie “if you jus’ happen to get in trouble like you always done before, I want you to come right here an’ hide in the brush. They are fleeing from their previous employment in weed where they were run out of town after Lennie's love of stroking soft things resulted in an accusation of attempted rape when he touched a young woman's dress.” So do you think mercy killings are ever acceptable?

George is a loner. Without Lennie, George realizes that being alone is not good he explains it to Slim when he says “I seen the guys that go around on the ranches alone. That ain’t no good. They don’t have no fun. After a long time they get mean. They get wantin’ to fight all the time.” On the other hand, George resents how Lennie inhibits his ability to live freely and selfishly. In the first few pages of the book , George’s resentment is clear when he says “I could get along so easy and so nice if I didn’t have you on my tail. I could so easy and maybe have a girl.” It is this ambivalence that makes George’s role dangerous for Lennie. Lennie relies on George to help him make good decisions and to keep him out of trouble. Most of the time George keeps Lennie out of trouble. He finds them work, talks for Lennie when...
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