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In Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men (1937), we find George Milton and Lennie Small (very large and seriously mentally impaired), migratory farm workers in California, trying to earn enough money to buy a small farm of their own--giving George some security and allowing Lennie to tend small animals like rabbits (which he loves to do but often kills the animals because he doesn't know his own strength). A man with whom they work, Candy, offers them money he has saved as long as they include him in the plan. Unfortunately, Candy has a son, Curley, an arrogant, unpleasant man, with a very promiscuous wife who is attracted to Lennie because of his size and power. She encourages Lennie, who becomes sexually attracted to her, but accidentally crushes her to death when she becomes afraid of him and rebuffs his advances. Lennie escapes into the woods, but Curley organizes a manhunt immediately. George, fearful of what the posse will do to Lennie, finds Lennie first, and in an act of sorrow and friendship, shoots Lennie to keep him from being hanged.
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