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Critical Lens

According to J. F. Clarke, “The bravest of individuals is the one who obeys his or her conscience.

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” In other words, people are only truly brave when they follow their own sense of goodness instead of following others. This idea is clearly evident in the novels A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks and Of Mice and men by John Steinbeck. The quote is exemplified in both novels by the literary element of theme. In A Walk to Remember, Landon Carter befriends unpopular Jamie Sullivan. In Of Mice and Men, George kills his friend Lennie to spare him from a horrific and painful murder.

In A Walk to Remember, Jamie Sullivan is an unpopular, religious girl who gets teased constantly for her beliefs. Popular Landon Carter befriends her, and asks her on a date to the homecoming dance at school. His friends tease him for this, but he knows that Jamie is a genuinely good person, and although his friends think differently, he is doing the right thing. The two develop a relationship. Eventually, Jamie confesses that she has an incurable form of leukemia, and is dying. Landon watches her get more ill, but he stays with her as often as he can, and tries to help in any way he can.

After Jamie dies, he looks back and realizes that by following his conscience, his life has changed. The theme love conquers all relates to both the quote and the novel. Landon and Jamie’s love for each other changes both of their lives. Throughout Jamie’s illness, Landon learns a lot about himself and life, and his bravery allows him to do that. In Of Mice and Men, George faces a difficult decision. George’s best friend, Lennie, accidentally kills Curley’s wife, and he leaves the ranch.

When Curley, the boss of the ranch’s son, discovers the death of his wife, he puts together a mob and sets out to find Lennie and shoot him in his guts. George knows that this will be very painful and agonizing, and he is not sure what to do. He ultimately decides to kill Lennie himself by shooting him in the back of the head. George meets Lennie by the pool of the Salinas River, and tells him his favorite story, the story of the farm. As soon as Lennie is calm, George shoots him. He knows that killing him this way will be instant and without pain. George feels that he is doing the right thing y sparing his friend of pain. The theme of loyalty and sacrifice relates to the quote and novel. George’s loyalty to his friend forces him to sacrifice him. This takes a lot of courage, but by doing this he is sparing his friend of extreme suffering. People are only truly brave when they follow their own sense of goodness. Landon’s bravery allows him to have a great relationship and gain knowledge about life. George’s bravery spares his friend of a painful death. Both novels show that the best form of bravery is when a person follows their conscience.