The Importance Of Mental Care In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

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Franklin D Roosevelt once said, “We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon” (BrainyQuote). FDR was an advocate for the mentally and physically handicapped. In the duration of Roosevelt’s several presidential terms, improvements were made in the lives of the disabled population of the US. Care for the mentally disabled has evolved over the years, but despite its rocky past, it keeps improving and getting better (Roosevelt). Of Mice and Men, a novel by John Steinbeck set during the Great Depression, illustrates the lack of care and understanding of this portion of society. In Steinbeck’s novel, a main character named Lennie Small suffers from a mental disability. …show more content…
Many new treatments have been discovered for the more serious types of mental illnesses. Most of these treatments and therapies were found to have consequential side effects and were discontinued not continued. However electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, was found to be “more reliable and safer” than other methods (Brunton). According to the Mayo Clinic, ECT is a procedure where “small electric currents are passed through the brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure. ECT seems to cause changes in brain chemistry, that can quickly reverse symptoms of certain mental illnesses,” (Mayo Clinic). In more recent years, this seemingly very controversial procedure has evolved into a safer treatment that was documented as being used even as recent as the 2000s . Considerable progress in the social view and political status of the mental health care system has been made in the last 100 years. In 1911 the Mental Defectives Act “allowed people to admit themselves to mental hospitals voluntarily” (Brunton). Terminology was changed after the Mental Defectives Act was put into place; demeaning words such as lunatic and asylum were replaced with words such as “inmate” and “mental hospital”. This shows growth in the social stance of how the mental health care system was perceived. Many other improvements were made to mental hospitals around the country, not only were they renamed, but they were also …show more content…
Lennie is shamed for his inability to do what is asked of him. George makes up a demeaning lie to tell their boss so that Lennie’s condition will not be exposed. George says, “He got kicked in the head by a horse when he was a kid. He’s awright. Just ain’t bright” (Steinbeck 22; ch. 2). He was not hurt by a horse when he was a child, but since society cannot accept Lennie as a mentally ill person he has to hide his illness from everyone for his own safety. Lennie’s behavioral problems in the last town they lived in causes them to have to run away from their jobs. Lennie’s recurring problem of not being able to comprehend what is right and wrong lands him in bad situations. A calamity occurs at the end of the novel when Lennie unintentionally kills a woman and flees the farm. George knows that if Lennie is caught, he will be brutally killed, therefore George makes a decision to end Lennie’s life in the most humane way possible. In the story Of Mice and Men, Lennie suffers and eventually dies because he is widely misunderstood and not able to get proper treatment for his mental

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