An excerpt from a pamphlet entitled Legislation for the Feeble-Minded by Miss A. H. P. Kirby, 1914.
In Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck describes Lennie Smalls as mentally disabled, although it is never overtly stated. George explains to the boss that Lennie “got kicked in the head by a horse when he was a kid. He’s awright. Just ain’t bright.” However, the reader soon learns that this is a lie and no further explanation is given about the severity of Lennie’s condition. In the 1930s, there was little understanding of mental disorders, and the treatment was often inhumane. This pamphlet about legislation available to the “feeble-minded” explains how society, government, and the medical establishment viewed those with mental disabilities in the early twentieth century.