Premium Essay

Mercy Killings in of Mice and Men

In: Novels

Submitted By dfish3474
Words 1647
Pages 7
American Lit

Justification for Mercy Killings
The jurors for the trial of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the physician convicted of second-degree murder for helping 130 terminally-ill patients commit suicide, had to decide whether or not he was justified in assisting the death of these patients. After reading Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, the readers have a chance to take a side on relatively the same issue of whether or not mercy killings are justified. The novel is about Lennie Small, a huge, mentally impaired man, and George Milton, a friend that looks after Lennie, searching for work in California during the Great Depression. Towards the end of the novel, Lennie enrages Curley by accidentally killing his wife, and George is left with the decision of whether or not to kill Lennie himself. George decides to shoot him solely out of love for his friend, but this killing initiates a debate in which the readers can take sides about his righteousness. Some people believe that George is justified in killing Lennie and should have done it, while others would argue that George should not have done it and should be held accountable for murder. In John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, George Milton should have shot Lennie Small because George is his friend and knows what is best for Lennie, and he knows that if Lennie lives, he will suffer. Other people may believe that George should not have shot Lennie and should therefore be punished because Lennie has mental issues and his killing of Curley’s wife is a complete accident. Because of his mental disability, Lennie has a tactile deficiency and likes to pet soft things to help calm himself down. In Chapter Five, Curley’s wife unknowingly tempts him to feel the softness of her hair, and this simple act results in Lennie accidentally breaking her neck. In committing this terrible mistake, Lennie shows his inability to distinguish…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Of Mice and Men

...major motif of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men is the American dream and the drive to attain it. The life of a ranch hand is grim, yet the characters in the novel are still vulnerable to dreams of a better life. The dream of owning land, called the American dream by some, is what motivates George and Lennie in their work on the ranch. It is their friendship that sustains this dream and makes it possible. While the dreams are credible to the reader, in the end all dreams are crushed, and the characters are defeated by their circumstances. The characters in Of Mice and Men have very little to look forward to as migrant ranch hands. They travel from ranch to ranch with all of their possessions in a bundle, looking for work for fifty dollars a month, and that work does not usually last very long. If a man is a good worker, he might be kept on at the ranch indefinitely and wind up as Candy does, old and crippled, just waiting until he is no longer useful. George explains the despair of a ranch hand to Lennie: Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don't belong no place. They come to a ranch an' work up a stake and then they go inta town and blow their stake, and the first thing you know they're poundin' their tail on some other ranch. They ain't got nothing to look ahead to. (Steinbeck 13-14) Despite their destitute state, many of the characters in Of Mice and Men are prone to dream. George......

Words: 842 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck

...John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men In John Steinbeck's classic novella, Of Mice and Men, one of the predominant themes that govern the story and characters in the book is friendship. One of the ways in which friendship plays a large role is in the area of mercy killing, which affects the main characters as well as the supporting ones. The two major mercy killings that occur in the book are those of Carlson's killing of Candy's old dog, and of George's killing of Lennie. In both of these examples, the killer kills the other out of mercy and love, not for the usual motives of hatred, rage, anger, etc. The killing of Candy's dog is an excellent example of mercy killing in the aforesaid novella. Candy's dog was in terrible condition, and it could barely be said that the ratty old thing was even alive. It stunk like a dozen skunks, was nearly blind, could barely hear, had arthritis that was so bad, the old mutt couldn't sit down, had no quality of life, and probably had urinary and bowel problems, a miserable condition that is almost assured in old dogs. This instance of mercy killing, however, was more driven by peer pressure than the typical case of mercy killing. When someone kills another loved one out of mercy, it is normally done to put the afflicted one out of their misery, torment, anguish, distress, etc. The other ranch hands thought that the dog reeked more than any of its other conditions, which was the only one that they, too, could experience. Candy's dog loved its......

Words: 1065 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Mercy Killing

...is terminally ill, would it not be merciful to allow the person to die? Would not euthanasia--or mercy killing as it is termed--be acceptable to the suffering patient as well as to those who are close to him? mercy killing causes no harm to anyone. in fact, it provides a relief to the realtives of the victims as they undergo immense agony, seeing a dear one suffering. Euthanasia is an act of professional support to the terminally ill patient and hence canot be held as a cruel act on the part of the person who commints it. On the other hand, there is a deep rooted belief that life is a god given gift and it is presumptious on the part of a human being to end it. As for taking it away from another human being, howsoever merciful the motive, it is regarded as playing god. If the patient is terminally ill or in a coma, without having expressed any idea on the subject, who is to decide on terminating the persons life? The possibily of greedy and unscrupuluos relatives colluding with an equally unscrupuluos doctor to kill a patient, is a real danger. Morever, though it is an individual decisiom, it cannot be ignored as a major social problem as it opens up a chapter of suffering for the realtives of the patient. Any law, therefore, on euthanasia should have safeguards to preclude any possiblity of exploiting the situation by unscrupulous elements. The Scam in Mercy Killing Imagine one of your family members is terminally ill and presumed she will die very shortly.......

Words: 645 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Of Mice and Men

...Of Mice and Men Set in the 1930’s during the harsh Depression, John Steinbeck’s emotional novel ‘Of Mice and Men’ successfully explores the theme of friendship within a harsh environment. He portrays this through the characteristics and relationship between the protagonists, George and Lennie. The novel centers these characters who are two childhood friends who travel around together looking for work and face many struggles due to Lennie’s disabilities. Steinbeck initially presents the reader with a clear image of the central characters, who are complete opposites. George is told to be “small and quick” with a thin figure. He is seen as being short-tempered but a loving and devoted friend. He always makes Lennie’s protection his primary purpose despite sometimes coming off impatient towards Lennie. Lennie on the other hand, is very large with ‘sloping shoulders’ which leads the author to compare him to “the way a bear drags his paws”. Lennie is a very strong man with a child’s mind and this is the main problem that George and Lennie face in the novel. I think that Lennie is the least dynamic character as he is very flat and undergoes no significant changes in the novel and appears in the end exactly the same as when we first meet him. At the start of the novel we can clearly see that the author seems to have set Lennie up for disaster. These very different qualities of the characters George and Lennie show the peculiarity of their......

Words: 1368 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Of Mice and Men

...How does the setting of Of Mice and Men influence the book's thematic development? In answering, consider the connection between the novel's setting and the characters' vocations. Also, how does Steinbeck signal the importance of setting in his choice of place names? Though the novel is more famous for its characters than its setting, Of Mice and Men could not have been set elsewhere than in the rural Salinas valley of California. The problems of the novel are intimately tied to the rhythms and frustrations of the itinerant worker's life. Shifting from ranch to ranch, from one menial job to another, the Californian itinerant worker risked a life of meaningless labor - of pure, cynical sustenance. George and Lennie, with their dream of acquiring a farm, represent an attempt to stand against such perpetual loneliness. Even the name of the city near which the novel is set - Soledad, which is Spanish for "solitude" - resonates with this theme of loneliness. The title, Of Mice and Men, is an allusion to a Robert Burns poem. How is this allusion meaningful in the novel? Consider some similarities and differences between Burns and Steinbeck's works. Robert Burns' poem, "To a Mouse," is the source of the famous quotation: "The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men / Gang aft agley" ("often go awry"). And, indeed, Of Mice and Men features two men with a scheme - to escape their lives of menial, temporary employment - that goes awry. Beyond this simple plot similarity,...

Words: 1553 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Of Mice and Men

...“Of Mice and Men” “Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is the shocking story of two friends, George and Lennie, who have nothing but each other and a dream that one day they will have some land of their own and no longer have to wander round the country in search of work. The direction in which the story is heading becomes clear as it draws to a close. When George kills Lennie because he believes he must take responsibility for him. “And George raised the gun and steadied it, and he brought the muzzle of it close to the back of Lennie’s head. The hand shook violently, but his face set and his hand steadied, he pulled the trigger.” George realizes that he must be the one that kills Lennie and not the other ranch men. In the same way that Candy should have taken the responsibility for his dog, George believes that he must take responsibility for Lennie. He must have realized that even if they were to run away again, Lennie would get into trouble and they would have to run away again. It really must have killed George inside when he saw Lennie lying dead at his feet. He and Lennie were portrayed as having been together a long time. Now George is on his own and no different from any of the other ranch men , he no longer dreamed of having a house of his own, that dream died when Curley’s wife was found lying in the hay. George tells Lennie how different they are compared to the other ranchers. “Guys like us that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world.......

Words: 590 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Of Mice and Men

...Michael Emminger Ms. Wanczuk English 9 Honors Period 3 11/21/13 Character Analysis Essay A time of sickness, bankruptcy, and underground liquor runs; the 1930’s were a devastating time in which our protagonists lived. Of Mice and Men is a classic book by John Steinbeck. Published in 1937, this tale shows the adventures of two poor men, George and Lennie, who are suffering in the Great Depression. The book goes through a portion of their life through different places and roads. Lennie, I believe, is the most interesting character. Lennie shows his strengths and flaws from Of Mice and Men by having a big heart but bigger hands, helping keep George sane, and accidentally killing animals and people. Lennie has extraordinary physical strength, but his mind does not have that type of power. His head and heart did not know what to do when Curley started punching him and: “he was too frightened to defend himself… Curley’s fist was swinging when Lennie reached for it. The next minute Curley was flopping like a fish on a line, and his closed fist was lost in Lennie’s big hand” (69). Lennie’s brain could not comprehend the events developing around him and his body initially shut off in the process. If it was not for George yelling at him to fight back Lennie could have been really hurt. Some might say fighting is wrong all together, but if it is not possible to walk away from it then it is important to defend yourself. Even though it took him a while to be convinced to hit......

Words: 761 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Of Mice and Men

...Introduction: In An Inspector Calls, Eva Smith dies a horrible death, she drinks a strong disinfectant which gives her a painful death. The fact that she is not actually presented in the play by Priestly gives an impression that people don’t really care about and don’t treat her well. On the other hand Steinbeck gives Curley’s wife a peaceful death in Of Mice and Men. But the fact that she isn’t given her own name shows that she was a possession of Curley, and it also makes us feel that No-one sees her as a person and Steinbeck didn’t want the reader to either. Also she died because she was enjoying having someone to talk to and someone to pay attention to her, which means that no one wanted to listen to her or talk to her, which can make her feel rejected/depressed and nobody cares about her. Section 1: Of Mice and Men was published in 1937 just before the Second World War and a couple years after the Great Depression which swept the world in to poverty and decline. The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic downfall proceeding up to the Second World War. It varied across many nations and started in the 1930s and ended during the late 1930s up or the middle of 1940s. The Depression originated in the U.S. when the fall of the stock market prices fell dramatically and trade plunged by 50% along with personal tax, tax revenue and other tax related money expenditures dropped, as well as that the unemployment in the U.S. rose by 25%. Everybody was hit hard and...

Words: 1760 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Of Mice and Men

...How can the poems in the ‘Moon on the Tides’ anthology be seen to provide a meaningful insight into George and Lennie’s relationship? During the Great Depression of the 1930s when America was plunged into financial crisis, following the Wall Street Crash of October 1929, levels of unemployment and poverty were at a record high. Through this period, life was a struggle and the mentality of society became survival of the fittest, every man for himself. Migrant workers toured the country in search of labour to provide money for food. These men led lonely and emotionless lives, which are reflected through Steinbeck’s portrayal of his characters in his famous, yet bleak, 1930s parable ‘Of Mice and Men.’  In the novel, George and Lennie’s relationship diversifies them from the other ranch workers for the reason that they rely on each other for support and companionship ‘I got you and you got me.’ In particular, the dream they share of owning their own land, reflects the American Dream of being the ringleader of your own life with a level of self- sufficiency. The dream is a significant aspect in their relationship and is portrayed in the poem ‘The Moment’. Apart from each other, the only other thing that George and Lennie have to keep them motivated is the dream. The poem opens with the line “The moment when, after many years of hard work and a long voyage”. This is a metaphor for the life that George and Lennie live as itinerant workers and how they move from ranch to ranch......

Words: 2024 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Of Mice and Men

...Collin Ryan Block 8RH Of Mice and Men Essay Many people believe that the novella Of Mice and Men, written by John Steinbeck, is the most fantastic piece of short fiction ever written. Some people say this because of the many themes that are depicted in the literature. The statement can be proven true by the two concepts or themes: “the importance of relationships” and the “responsibility to others.” These themes are portrayed by his two main characters George and Lennie. “The importance of friendships” is one theme of many presented in the novella Of Mice and Men. The novella shows the relationship between the main characters George and Lennie, and how they try to reach their goal of owning their own land. It may seem a little odd to the other characters because at the time of the Great Depression it was normal to be alone by themselves. The reason why they were able to survive was only by their friendship that is emphasized by their dependence on each other. When Lennie said, “I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you,” was essentially the true dependence that both George and Lennie have for one another. Lennie also sees his friend George as a role model and sees him as guidance on how to live his life indicated when Steinbeck added the phrase, “he pulled his hat down more over his eyes the way George’s hat was.” George needs Lennie as much as Lennie needs George regardless of Lennie being the one who is mentally challenged and in need of constant......

Words: 713 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Mercy Killing

...The phrase “mercy killing” refers to someone taking a direct action to terminate a patient’s life without the patient’s permission. The decision to take such an action is often made on the assumption that the patient’s life is no longer “meaningful” or that if the patient were able to say so, s/he would express a desire to die. The means include the administering of poison, massive overdose of drugs, shooting, and so on (Thiroux and Krasemann, 448). Whereas “mercy deaths,” is voluntary and done with the permission of the patient and usually at his or her request (Thiroux and Krasemann, 184). Mercy killings occur more often in the United States than one realizes. This is legally a form of murder. Yet mercy killers are seldom convicted of first-degree murder. In fact, they receive leniency in punishment (Lavi, 145). In 1923, for example, the Greenfield’s son, Jerome, was born with a condition of gradual mental degeneration. Despite his retardation, at the age of sixteen, he was well-developed physically but he could not talk, only babble (Lavi, 147). Following Jerome being banned from public school, due to his “social and intellectual unfitness,” his loving parents, Louis and Anna, solely took care of him in their small apartment in the Bronx. As Jerome grew worse, his parents began to mentally and physically decline. On January 12, 1939, Mr. Greenfield asked his wife to go to their millinery shop to assist his partner. While Jerome slept, Louis took......

Words: 671 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Of Mice and Men

...Of Mice and Men is one of the most widely assigned modern novels in high schools because of both its form and the issues that it raises. John Steinbeck’s reliance on dialogue, as opposed to contextual description, makes the work accessible to young readers, as does his use of foreshadowing and recurrent images. Equally important is the way in which he intertwines the themes of loneliness and friendship and gives dignity to those characters, especially Lennie and Crooks, who are clearly different from their peers. By focusing on a group of lonely drifters, Steinbeck highlights the perceived isolation and sense of “otherness” that can seem so overwhelming when one is growing up. Of Mice and Men is also important because it explores the way in which events can conspire against the realization of one’s dreams. It pits a group of flawed individuals against a set of circumstances that they are unable to master or, in the case of Lennie, even to comprehend. This is a theme that Steinbeck also explores in his classic novel The Grapes of Wrath (1939). When Steinbeck began Of Mice and Men, he was planning to write a children’s book called Something That Happened. His intent was to demonstrate that events often have a momentum of their own and need not reflect the existence of a higher power that is exacting punishment. Perhaps it was for this reason that he decided to retitle the book, drawing from Robert Burns’s oft-quoted poem “To a Mouse,” which contains the line “The......

Words: 932 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Of Mice and Men

...Mercy killing can be shown very much in this novel. It plays an important role throughout the novel that affects the main characters as well as the supporting ones. It is the object of much of the story and is full of meaning. The theme of mercy killing in the novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, is demonstrated through the killing of Candy's dog and of Lennie. The killing of Candy's dog is a really good example of mercy killing in the aforementioned novel. Candy's dog was in horrible condition. It smelled, it had trouble seeing, it had trouble hearing and nobody thought that it was able to get a valuable quality out of life. This type of mercy killing, however, was a dark and greedy version. The men on the farm felt that the dog reeked and they could not stand it. They also didn't seem to care much about Candy. They decided too put the dog out of his misery by shooting him but not for the sake of the dog or for Candy but for themselves. 'Look, Candy. This ol' dog jus' suffers hisself all the time. If you was to take him out and shoot him right in the back of the head---.' (45) 'A shot sounded in the distance. The men looked quickly at the old man. Every head turned toward him.' (49) Another excellent example of mercy killing is the killing of Lennie. Lennie Small had many problems that handicapped him from being able to act like a normal person. He had made himself and George lose many jobs and get kicked out of many towns. He could not handle himself without being......

Words: 376 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Mice & Men

...English 11 In The Histories of Herodotus, Herodotus states that “…men are at the mercy of events and cannot control them.” There are two novels that I have read that this quote applies to. The novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is about two migrant farm workers, George and Lenny, who get into trouble due to the fact that Lenny is slow minded and huge in physical stature. The other novel that comes to mind is Night by Elieser Wiesel. In this novel, Elie is part of the deportation to Nazi concentration camps during World War II. In the novel Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck uses characterization to portray the characters and help the reader get to know them. In this book, Lenny is a very large man but is mentally handicapped. George, his friend since childhood, takes Lenny under his wing and tries to keep him out of trouble while still saving up money for their dream. The two men’s dream consist of buying a little farm house far away from everybody while having animals and “living off the land.” This dream is almost within reach until Lenny makes a life changing mistake and accidentally kills his boss’s daughter in-law by strangling her trying to keep her quiet. Then, all of the farm hands are sent out in a search party to find Lenny. George finds Lenny first and ends up shooting him in the back of the head while Lenny is in the middle of a day dream so that way the other men could not torture him and he died while being happy. George had no......

Words: 516 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Of Mice and Men

...John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men In John Steinbeck's classic novella, Of Mice and Men, one of the predominant themes that govern the story and characters in the book is friendship. One of the ways in which friendship plays a large role is in the area of mercy killing, which affects the main characters as well as the supporting ones. The two major mercy killings that occur in the book are those of Carlson's killing of Candy's old dog, and of George's killing of Lennie. In both of these examples, the killer kills the other out of mercy and love, not for the usual motives of hatred, rage, anger, etc. The killing of Candy's dog is an excellent example of mercy killing in the aforesaid novella. Candy's dog was in terrible condition, and it could barely be said that the ratty old thing was even alive. It stunk like a dozen skunks, was nearly blind, could barely hear, had arthritis that was so bad, the old mutt couldn't sit down, had no quality of life, and probably had urinary and bowel problems, a miserable condition that is almost assured in old dogs. This instance of mercy killing, however, was more driven by peer pressure than the typical case of mercy killing. When someone kills another loved one out of mercy, it is normally done to put the afflicted one out of their misery, torment, anguish, distress, etc. The other ranch hands thought that the dog reeked more than any of its other conditions, which was the only one that they, too, could experience. Candy's dog loved its......

Words: 1065 - Pages: 5

Ray Donovan S03E12 HDTV x264-LOL [eztv] | UFC 232 Early Prelims WEB-DL H264 Fight-BB | x particles