The Role Of Mental Disabilities In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

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“No matter how much sometimes you dare to dream, send happy thoughts into the universe, no matter what you do some of your dreams will never come true” (Unknown). In Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, at the time of the Great Depression, two men, George and Lennie, venture to California in hopes to find work. Because Lennie is wanted for raping a woman, George and Lennie must escape the “law” by fleeing to the next town. Through the character of Lennie, Steinbeck shows that issues outside the control of an individual often limit the achievement of his dreams. “‘But he never hurt her. He jus’ wanted to touch that red dress, like he wants to pet them pups all the time’” (Steinbeck 42). This quote is the first example in which Lennie’s mental disability gets in the way of his dreams. George tells Slim what had happened in Weed between Lennie and the woman in the red dress and how the whole situation started. “‘Sure, he 's [Lennie] jes like a kid. There ain 't no more harm in him than a kid neither, except he 's so strong’" (Steinbeck 43). What George refers to in this quote is what is known today as an intellectual and developmental disability (IDD). Lennie’s IDD affects the way his brain…show more content…
With Lennie’s mental disability, fending for himself is not always possible thus he has to rely on George’s help for everyday tasks. “‘What you gonna say tomorrow when the boss asks you questions? … I ain 't gonna… say a word’” (Steinbeck 15). This quote exemplifies Lennie’s dependency on George. George tells Lennie what to say and do because Lennie can not process information quickly due to his IDD. "Slowly, like a terrier who doesn 't want to bring a ball to its master, Lennie approached, drew back, approached again" (Steinbeck 9). In this quote Steinbeck paints this picture in the reader’s mind that Lennie is more like George’s pet. Requiring a lot of maintenance and effort, Lennie exemplifies the traits of an animal because his IDD makes his everyday life challenging to
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