What connection can be forged between Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and The Green Mile by Stephen King?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Both works stress the humanity of the individual in conditions that might lessen one's humanity.  The Great Depression is shown in Steinbeck's terms as a brutal time period where people struggled to carve out some semblance of life and where economic reality dictated how life was lived.  The life of the institution is shown in King's work to be a realm where cruelty does exist, and where difficulties in living are evident.  The scant humanity in both worlds is sought to be temporarily offset with the love of animals.  Eduard, and later John's, love for mice and Lennie's love for animals are both ways in which a human element is brought out in both worlds where inhumanity seems to be the norm.  Naturally, the massive sizes of Coffey and Lennie are connections between the work.  The fact that both are very big and very strong belies how good of hearts they possess and how they are seen as intrinsically good people in a world that fails to understand them.  I think that the other connection that can be forged is how both works view the taking of a life.  King's work is passionately against the idea of capital punishment.  Steinbeck's work speaks in a different way to this idea, suggesting that Lennie's humanity is preserved when George takes his life with dignity and compassion.


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