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Lennie Of Mice And Men Essay

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To what extent did Lennie Small, pivotal character in John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men, have freedom and independence? Of Mice and Men, one of the most influential books of our modern time, is not only an impressive tale of friendship, but also a representation for the world in the 1920’s and the lives of those who lived at the time. Many examples of this comparison between the ranch in which the story occurs and the society in which Steinbeck lived can be noticed throughout the book in the forms of multiple characters in the farm and the treatment they receive. Lennie Small, a mentally challenged yet extremely strong and physically capable character, is a representation of the almost complete dependence that mentally challenged people…show more content…
He represents the dependence of the mentally disabled on the more able members of society, and how this can affect their lives, rendering the powerless to an already existing hierarchy. Furthermore, he also represents the possible reasons behind this, such as lack of necessary knowledge and the possible danger that this lack of knowledge may bring to society. These themes are used by Steinbeck in order to show a power dynamic at the time, one where wits were required in order to reach any success. Lennie shows this through his apparent incapacity to be independent in scenes such as the interview, in which planned actions and rational thought can be the last deciding factor. Another important reason for this treatment of the mentally disabled is the possible harm that they may cause due to lack of knowledge. This was shown in the case of Lennie through the various dangerous actions taken by him that he was unaware of. This is the case when he rips the girl’s red dress and when he kills Curley’s wife, aas well as when he kills multiple animals due to how little he knows about his own destructive power. Lennie also shows that, despite having many traits often associated with power, one can find himself in a state of powerlessness, rendered helpless to the pre-established hierarchy, as shown by his…show more content…
He is a representation of the lives of the mentally disabled, which are often controlled by others in order to maintain safety. Throughout the book, many examples of George expressing control over Lennie’s life can be observed, however one of the most clear examples of this control is the scene in which George decides to kill Lennie in order to spare him from his impending doom. This is an example like many others, but it is fundamentally different in that it shows the most extreme of cases, one in which the decision of whether one’s life should or should not end is made by someone else with no regards to the opinions and choices of the person to which this is most concerning, he who has a gun held against his head. This last choice is denied from Lennie, just like every other before
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