After learning that Of Mice and Men was invoked in a Texas court to argue for the execution of the mentally impaired, John Steinbeck’s son Thomas spoke out in support of the (unsuccessful) effort to halt Tuesday’s execution of Marvin Wilson, a mentally retarded man with an I.Q. of 61.
“His work was certainly not meant to be scientific, and the character of Lennie was never intended to be used to diagnose a medical condition like intellectual disability. I find the whole premise to be insulting, outrageous, ridiculous and profoundly tragic. I am certain that if my father, John Steinbeck, were here, he would be deeply angry and ashamed to see his work used in this way.”