Intellectual Disabilities In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

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Of Mice and Men is a book written by John Steinbeck about two best friends working on a ranch during the Great Depression. The two friends are George Milton and Lennie Small. George Milton is a small framed, smart and cunning man, while Lennie Small is a very large and mentally challenged man. During the 1930’s people who were mentally challenged were frowned upon, overlooked, and disregarded. Based on advancements of how America deals with people that have an intellectual disability, Lennie would not have suffered harassment and an execution at the hands of his best friend George if this took place today. During the early 1900’s there were not many treatments or options for people who had intellectual disabilities. Although, people who experienced things such as deafness and blindness were regarded for. Throughout the book, George ridicules and controls …show more content…
This results in Lennie being shot and killed by his best friend George. If Lennie had killed someone in the current time period, the charges would be much less. First off, George kills Lennie to save him from being hurt by the others at the farm (Steinbeck 106), which is basically a mercy killing. You can also make a connection in the story of a mercy killing with Lennie to Candy’s dog. Earlier in the story, Candy’s dog is shot because of how old and useless he his. Lennie can be seen in the same light as in the book he gets in people’s way, does not follow directions, and hurts others. Today, if George killed someone with an intellectual disability it would be disapproved of and George would most likely be put in jail because he would be taking an innocent life, even if George does claim that it is a mercy killing. Also, because people with intellectual disabilities are not frowned upon nowadays and people would feel sympathy for Lennie and side with him against