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Jennifer Garcia Mrs.

Hamilton English 1H/3 21 May 2013

Men, Marigolds and Murder Murder. Whenever people hear that word, many think of blood, terror, violence and heartlessness. All of these things are relatively bad, but in Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck does not see murder as an evil act, but rather an act of mercy. Although he values life, he believes that in an extreme situation, homicide is a way to stop suffering. There are three deaths in Of Mice and Men, but all of them were not done without a good reason. The first killing that happens is Candy's dog. Candy's dog was old and had "pale, blind, old eyes" and a "grizzled, moth eaten coat" (24). He was clearly living a painful life, but he kept Candy company. Although Candy did not want to admit it, the dog, as useless and lame as he was, was his friend and he loved him. When Carlson wanted to kill the dog, Candy tried to stop him by saying that he had had the dog since it was a pup and after when Carlson did kill the dog, Candy was so stricken he just lay on his bed probably remembering all the moments he shared with "the best damn sheep dog I ever seen" (44). Afterwards, Candy admitted to George that he should have killed his dog. It did not seem right to have someone take the dog's life if the dog did not mean anything to them. Curley's wife was a girl who just wanted to associate with other people, but was stuck with a jealous husband who wanted her all to himself. She had dreams of becoming a famous actress: "Coulda been in the movies, an' had nice clothes-all them nice clothes like they wear. An' I

coulda satin them big hotels, an' had pitchers took of me" (89). They all treated her like a "tart" and she was avoided by most of the men on the ranch. She was so desperate to have someone to be with to that she went as low as to talk with "a bunch of bindle stiffs... an' likin' it too because they ain't nobody else" (78). She wanted approval from others and in the the end trying to get that approval from Lennie cost her her life. Although she died with terror, when she was dead all the meanness and the plannings and the discontent and the ache for attention were all gone (92). In the end she didn't have to live a boring life with a man she didn't even like. The most important death in the novel is Lennie's. When he dies, so does the dream of having a place to call their own. The dream gives them hope of a better life and gives them something to keep living for. He died at the hands of someone who cared about him: George raised the gun and steadied it, and he brought the muzzle of it close to the back of Lennies head (and)...he pulled the trigger(106). Had he died at the hands of Curley, he would have had a painful, cruel death for Curley was planning to shoot the guts outta Lennie (98).George made sure that Lennie had a peaceful death: Lennie jarred, and then settled slowly forward to the sand, and he lay without quivering (106). George killed Lennie because it was better for Lennie to die instead of being chased and sent to jail. He probably was thinking ahead, possibly of what could happen to Lennie if he was unable to protect him. George sacrificed his happiness for Lennie because now he would have to go on with life without a companion. "Marigolds" has many themes in common with Of Mice and Men. One theme is that of death and mercy. One could compare Candy and to Miss Lottie because they were left with nothing to give them company or, in other words, nothing to live for. The dog and Lennie could be compared to the marigolds because it was what gave their owners a reason to live. Carlson and Lennie's lack of self-control could be compared to Lizbeth because they were the reason that

the deaths happened. Both Steinbeck and Euginia write that having a dream is important during hard times because it gives the person hope of a better tomorrow. There was however one thing that was different, the ending. Steinbeck's novel ended on a sad note because George had nothing to go back to, Lennie, his companion, was dead, while Eugenia's story gave the reader a sense of hope. In the end of "Marigolds" Lizbeth is left with hope and tranquility.