Bonilla 1 Student Name Dr. Cruise Block 2 CPLA 4 March 2011 A Compassionate Killing in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men INTRODUCTION/THESIS: In John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, George enacts a kind and necessary act— the shooting of child-like friend, Lennie. By killing Lennie, George frees his dependent from certain torture and sends him to an eternal and peaceful land of dreams. REASON #1- George had to kill Lennie in a compassionate way before Curley killed him in a horrific way. TRANSITION SENTENCES TO QUOTATION #1: Curley’s obsession with making Lennie suffer a violent death is seen after Curley views his wife’s dead body. Curley expresses his murderous intentions: QUOTATION “„I know who done it...That big son-of-a-bitch done it. I know who done it. Why ever „body else was out there plain‟ horseshoes...‟ He worked himself into a fury. „I‟m gonna get him. I‟m going for my shotgun. I‟ll kill the big son-of-a- bitch myself. I‟ll shoot „m in the guts‟” (p. 96). PARAPHRASE: Speaking to Carlson, George, Slim and the other ranch hands, Curley immediately and correctly assumes Lennie is the killer. In front of all, Curley rabidly promises to get retribution by shooting Lennie in the stomach. COMMENTARY on CONTENT/WORDS: The repetition of the profane, “son-of-a bitch” shows Curley’s blinding anger and his objectified view of Lennie. For Curley, Lennie is not even a human. He is an animal—a beast, the off-spring of a female dog. Curley’s anger is rooted in his humiliating memory that Lennie Bonilla 1 previously shamed him in front of the other men. Lennie not only crushed Curley’s hand; he crushed his pride. This former boxer now must resurrect his ego by killing the man who recently maimed it. Shooting Lennie “in the gut” insures the man-child Lennie experiences tortured pain through ruptured organs and internal bleeding. The reader can assume that the “boss’s son” also plans to physically torment a doubled-over Lennie. Interestingly, Curley expresses neither sadness nor despair at the loss of his murdered wife, whose body lies broken before him. This glaring omission suggests that Curley’s has only involved the man and his own mirror—Lennie and himself. This focus on the self to the exclusion of others is also revealed in Curley’s repeated use of the first person pronoun, I. In fact, four consecutive sentences start with the same subject-verb pattern, with pronounced Curley the subject of violent verbs: “I’m gonna get…”; “I’ll kill”; “I’ll shoot”. In all aspects, Curley wants to make Lennie suffer. In order for Curley to stand, Lennie must fall. The parallelism of these sentences only reinforces this message. RELATE THE QUOTATION BACK TO REASON #1: Clearly, Curley’s rage means that George must save Lennie from Curley’s cruel intentions. TRANSITION SENTENCES TO QUOTATION #2: Contrary to Curley, George plans and enacts a peaceful and painless death for his friend. This is seen in the final chapter in George’s purposeful, yet placid killing of his Lennie: QUOTATION #2“And George raised the gun and steadied it, and he brought the muzzle of it close to the back of Lennie’s head. The hand shook violently, but his face and his hand steadied. He pulled the trigger. The crash of the shot rolled up the hills and rolled down again. Lennie jarred, and then settled slowly forward to the sand, and he lay without quivering”(106). PARAPHRASE: Complete as above. Bonilla 1 COMMENTARY/CONTENT and WORD: Complete as above. RELATE THE QUOTATION BACK TO THE REASON #1: Complete as above. REASON #2: Not only does George have to protect Lennie from Curley, he must also protect those in society from Lennie, and this can only occur through Lennie‟s death: TRANSITION SENTENCES TO QUOTATION #1: QUOTATION #1 PARAPHRASE: Complete as above. COMMENTARY on CONTENT/ WORDS: Complete as above. RELATE THE QUOTATION BACK TO THE REASON #2: Complete as above TRANSITION SENTENCES TO QUOTATION #2: QUOTATION #2 PARAPHRASE: Complete as above. COMMENTARY on CONTENT/ WORDS: Complete as above. RELATE THE QUOTATION BACK TO THE REASON #2: Complete as above REASON #3 (Pre-AP Only): Finally, George must insure his survival by finding secure employment, and only through Lennie‟s death can this occur. *Repeat the above pattern used in Reasons #1 and #2. CONCLUSION: 1. Restate the thesis using NEW words. 2. Add a new idea to give the reader something on which to ponder. 3. Conclude with a sentence that is creative and memorable. SAMPLE CONCLUSION: Clearly, George’s killing of Lennie is an act of kindness, not of callous. In the harsh 1930’s world that has no welcome home for migrant men or the disabled, Lennie finds peace in the only “dream farm” available to him. Society is also kept safe from the bear-like threat of this, child- Bonilla 1 man. A symbol of the two friends enduring dreams, George can now move forward in pursuit of those dreams For years, George sacrificed his desires for Lennie. As George’s shooting victim, Lennie returns the favor.