English Period 3 (La Mesa)
24 April 2014
Of Mice and Men: Persuasive Essay
Your closest friend that you've known for a long time has just accidentally committed murder. Imagine that your friend is mentally challenged and they by no means committed the murder purposely. You know that shortly others who find out will viciously kill your friend and chances of escaping are very slim. Even if you were able to escape with your friend, it would be very likely that you guys would be found. There is little time left before others find your friend and exact revenge on him. Letting him die scarred and in pain by strangers isn't right, but killing him, even if to shield him from injustice doesn't seem right either. However, you must make a hasty decision. This is the predicament George finds himself in-in the well acclaimed novella, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. George and Lennie are long time companions and migrant farm workers in California during the 1930's. George is a diligent worker, loyal, has a short temper, and has dreams of owing is own farm. He takes a while to warm up to people and trust them. Lennie is mentally challenged, he has an amiable disposition, and is very tall and strong, which is ironic because his last name is Small. Lennie is also a hard worker and has an obsession with soft objects; there is an innocent child-like quality about Lennie. However, Lennie has a lot of fear and anxiety, which
causes him to panic in stressful or confusing situations. After fleeing from several towns because of misunderstood actions by Lennie, George and Lennie move to a new farm to work. However, Lennie's continued obsessions with soft things leads to accidently killing a puppy and eventually a woman on the ranch. The other men on the ranch are enraged by Lennie's actions and seek to kill Lennie cruelly. George doesn't want Lennie to suffer a terrorizing or fearful death, so he shoots Lennie before the infuriated men can get to him. Due to the unfortunate circumstances I think George did the right thing by shooting Lennie because of Lennie's history, how George killed Lennie, and at what point George killed Lennie.
The first reason that justifies George shooting Lennie is Lennie's history. Lennie's obsession with soft things wasn't anything new. When Lennie was younger an he lived with his Aunt Clara and she would give him mice to pet because it brought him comfort. However, Lennie always ended up killing them. "They was so little...I'd pet 'em, and pretty soon they pit my fingers and I pinched their heads a little and then they was dead-because they was so little,"(9,10) Lennie said remorsefully. Later on in the story Lennie ended up killing a puppy on the ranch. Lennie regretedly said of the puppy, "He was so little...I was jus' playin' with him...an' he made like he's gonna bite me...an' I made like I was gonna smack him...an'...an' I done it. An' then he was dead" (87). Despite several warnings Lennie couldn't learn from his past mistakes of handling animals. "You wasn't big enough," Lennie said to the dead puppy, " They tol' me you wasn't. I
di'n't know you'd get killed so easy" (85). Now consider Lennie's biggest mistake: killing Curley's wife. Curley was the farm boss's son. Curley wife came to talk to Lennie in the barn while all the other men were playing horseshoes. She encouraged Lennie to stroke her soft hair, but when he wouldn't let go they started to struggle, then the woman began to scream. Lennie became flustered because he wanted the woman to stop screaming, he didn't want her to get him in trouble by George. Lennie started shaking her to try to get her to stop, but he shook her too hard, and she died from a broken neck. These actions and quotes from Lennie show his inability to deal with confusing or fearful situations. Lennie panicked when the mice started biting him by pinching their heads. When Lennie wasn't handling the dog right, the dog tried