Humane Acts In The Inhumane Behaviors (Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck)


Killing someone's best friend and killing someone's dog both seem like very inhumane things to do, and actually, very awful things to do. However in the book  Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, he shows that this can actually be humane, but not in ways the reader may think. In the novel, there are  migrant workers striving for their American dream, and trying to not have to live this migrant life anymore. Some of them are not that humane, and some are, but there is no doubt that the reader may have done something themselves that seems awful, without thinking about it, but they were doing it for a good reason. Steinbeck proves through Of Mice and Men people can be humane in ways that seem inhumane.

Carlson is being humane by killing Candy’s dog, even though without thinking, it would not seem humane. In the book, the old man candy has this very old dog. Carlson thinks that the dog should die, because it is really stinky and old.This is shown when Carlson says, “This `dog jus' suffers hisself all the time. If you was to take him out and shoot him right in the back of the head-" he leaned over and pointed, "- right there, why he'd never know what hit him"( Steinbeck 5).  He thinks because the dog is stinky and old, it is suffering. Because of its suffering, he thinks he should kill the dog, because being dead would be better than being alive, and suffering. This shows that Carlson killed the dog for the dog's own good, and not because he disliked the dog. “The dog jus suffers all the time," shows that he has sympathy for the dog, which is also being humane.The author writes this quote the way he does, to show that Carlson wants the best for the dog, even though he puts down the dog. In Carlson's mind, he thinks that the dog would be better off dead, because the dog does not really move, and is stinky, so it is probably suffering. This is humane, because being humane is having compassion, and that is what Carlson is doing.This is important because it shows that even though they are independent,  everyone still cares for each other, which is also being humane.

George killing Lennie is also proof of doing inhumane seeming actions, to be humane, because it might not seem humane, but he did not want to see Lennie suffering.  George kills Lennie in the last paragraph of the book. He kills Lennie, because he shot the bossś sonś wife. Everyone would want to see Lennie suffering, because he murdered someone, even though he did not mean to. The author writes, “The hand shook violently, but his face set 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¨ (Steinbeck 6).The fact that it infers that Lennie laid without quivering, shows he felt no pain, which shows George was trying to be humane, because he did not want to see Lennie suffer. This is also shown, when it says that he lay without quivering, that shows that Lennie did not know what hit him, and felt no pain when getting killed. George would know that because the shot would be so fast, Lennie would not feel a thing. This proves that in the end Lennie did not suffer, because of how he died. This is important, because it shows that George did not want to see Lennie suffering, and wanted to be humane. George also had Lennie tell him of the “happy place” they discussed, so Lennie would have comfort, which would also be humane, because he did not want Lennie suffering in any way. George and Lennie also went through everything with Lennie, and would not want to see him suffer. This proves that he cared for Lennie, and would not want anything to happen to him, because if he did not kill him, things would have been way worse for Lennie. If an outsider where

 to see George killing Lennie, it would seem inhumane, and awful, but George was doing it for a humane reason, knowing how others would do much worse.

Through inferring the motives of Carlson, when killing Candy’s dog, and George while killing Lennie, it is proven that people can be humane while performing inhumane acts. This is shown when Clarkson puts down Candy’s dog, because he thought the dog was hurting, and when George killed Lennie, because he did not want to see Lennie suffering in the hands of Curly. This has overall importance, because it is showing how Steinbeck incorporated humanity in Of Mice and Men,  Focusing on how it is important to stop suffering, through being humane.

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