Of Mice and Men

Impairment and Mental "Illness" in Of Mice and Men 12th Grade

Throughout history, those who are not on level with those around them tend to be neglected. This is a trend seen among animals as the runt of a litter gets killed, eaten, or left behind, and is seen among humans as the mentally challenged or physically handicapped are treated differently and sometimes sent off to separated facilities to be dealt with. Although the treatment of lesser equipped animals has stayed the same over time, it has drastically changed for humans as they have raised the standard of living for those with mental and physical disabilities. Even though they are not yet treated as equals to non-handicapped people, their lifestyle has drastically changed from being abandoned in an inhuman “treatment” facility, to aided integration into daily life—enough at least for them to function semi-independently, with minor supervision or aid. In comparison to typical treatment of the mentally challenged during the depression era, Lennie, a central character in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, was quite pampered by his friend George.

What people define as “mentally challenged varies between person to person. According to a medical dictionary, “the United States Government defines a disability as ‘a physical or mental...

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