Suicide In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

1352 Words 6 Pages
Struggle. Hopelessness. Desperation. The early 1900s was not an easy time. Most people were in debt. They were “just getting by.” However, discrimination and racism were at their peak for some. These were People with Intellectual Disorders, or PWID. They were those who were not even “just getting by.” In the article “History of Intellectual Disability”, Catherine K. Harbour, Ph. D, MPH, it is demonstrated that PWID struggled to survive in a normal society. As if the times weren’t hard enough, people viewed them as inferior, subordinate, and even dangerous. The amount of suffering and limited choice which these people had was unimaginable. “Arguments against Brittany Maynard’s assisted suicide ignore her point of view on suffering” by Kelly …show more content…
In the novella Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, Lennie Small is a grown man with an intellectual disorder. Eventually, George Milton, his guardian-figure, has a decision to make. He could choose to euthanize Lennie, saving him from a slow, painful death. Conversely, he could sit back and let the people of society kill Lennie in an unjustified manner. Although Lennie’s death was inevitable, it was up to George to make it as humane and righteous as possible. He chose to take Lennie’s life himself, leaving him in his happiest state. His decision to euthanize Lennie was morally correct. George Milton is Lennie Small’s best friend and guardian-figure. With this responsibility, he must stand up for Lennie as well as speak for him. At the ranch on which they work, the Boss questions them and why they are together, as most people look for work alone during this time. “George said, ‘He’s my…. cousin. I told his old lady I’d take care of him. He got kicked in the head by …show more content…
Some benefits were put in place for PWID throughout the twentieth century. “Federal and local legislation in the U.S. codified rights and mandated services for the for disabled people, eventually including the mentally disabled” (Harbour 5). As time went on, these benefits were made to better the lives of PWID. Therefore, their lives weren’t completely separated from society at all times. They could be assisted through services and benefited by their rights. This allowed PWID to become more independent and allowed them to tend for themselves. As time went on, Lennie could have possibly gained these rights and benefits, improving his life. While he may have euthanized him, George improved his own life the same action. Lennie was a burden to him from the start of their time. “‘I got you! You can’t keep a job and you lose me ever’ job I get. Just keep me shovin’ all over the country all the time. An’ that ain’t the worst. You get in trouble. You do bad things and I got to get you out” (Steinbeck 5). It is difficult enough in this time for George to find and keep a job. With Lennie, it is nearly impossible. He is a burden to George and makes his life harder than it has to be. In addition, it may be argued that George had no right to determine the end of Lennie’s life. Before her death, a terminally ill Brittany Maynard argued that “no one else could say when her suffering became

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