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Mercy Or Murder Essay

694 words - 3 pages

Most people have experienced the family tragedy of a beloved family pet that had to be put down due to sickness, injury, or old age. This act of euthanization is often referred to as “mercy killing.” This is a part of a wide variety of people’s lives, yet it is not always socially accepted when this so called “mercy” is used on humans. In the book Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, the main character, Lennie, constantly gets himself in to trouble. Lennie is a very large man who has a much undeveloped brain and has the mental capacity of a young child. Due to his incapability, Lennie has to be tended to by his close friend George. The pair, after having to leave because of Lennie, got a job on a ranch as migrant workers. As the time goes on the boss’ unfaithful daughter in-law, attempts to take advantage of Lennie and in his excitement and great strength, Lennie strangles and kills the woman. To keep Lennie from being hung or tortured, George shoots Lennie in the head and kills him. The book portrays that this is a very acceptable action, and in the eyes of today’s society is accepted, yet only under certain instances.
George’s actions are in the eyes of some, appalling and not acceptable, yet in others he was saving his friend from the pain and suffering that issued if he had been caught by either the woman’s husband or the law. George did the best he could for Lennie. The woman’s husband, Curly, stated “Shoot for his guts. That’ll double ‘im over” (Stienbeck). These very words show that Curly intended to inflict the maximum amount of pain on Lennie when he found him. This was probably to justify the pain that he himself felt at the loss of his wife. If Lennie had found a way to escape the posse that searched for him, he would eventually be caught by the police in the area and he would be hanged. By George killing...

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