The Story of Bob and George. Essay on Death, Innocence, and Fear

Two mountain climbers, Bob and George, are enjoying the thrill of climbing a steep cliff on Mountain Whitney in California but the joy in their adventure soon ends when George’s rope fails to work properly, almost sending him falling down to the jagged boulders below. Luckily, he quickly catches onto Bob’s foot and drags him a few feet down his rope, causing it to shake and lose its grip on the cliff. Scared of falling and dying, Bob shakes his friend off his feet which results in George plummeting to his death. Bob is traumatized by the fact that he has just indirectly killed his own friend. Many believe that people should be blamed for any incidents that they could have prevented in a life-or-death situation. Others think that the factors of a deadly event can alter a person’s actions and thoughts, resulting in severe consequences that they were unable to stop from happening.  Novels and stories such as “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck, “The Most Dangerous Game” written by Richard Connell, and “The Seventh Man” by Haruki Murakami all take place in a life-or-death event that show how a character’s actions lead to several outcomes, which are mostly troublesome and unfavorable. People in life-or-death situations should be held accountable for their actions because they have harmed innocent people, committed murder, and failed their promise of being someone’s guardian and protector.

People who have harmed innocent beings because of their mistakes need to hold responsibility for any damage they have inflicted. In the novel, “Of Mice and Men”, by author John Steinbeck, George shoots Lennie for the mistakes he has made in his life; Lennie is described as a good man with a possible mental disability who often makes unfortunate mistakes. Before Lennie accidentally kills Curley’s wife, he pleads her, “ ‘Oh! Please don’t…[yell] gonna get me in trouble...I don’t want ta hurt you…’ When she didn’t answer nor move...he lifted her arm and let it drop…[bewildered]...he whispered in fright, ‘I done a bad thing’ “(Steinbeck 91). Lennie did not ever mean any harm to Curley’s wife. In the quote above, he promises her that he did not want to hurt her, only wanted her to stay quiet so he could avoid trouble from George. When she does not answer, he is shocked and scared of what he has done, which means he had no bad intentions.

This proves his innocence and how this situation was a mistake. However, In the same text, “Of Mice and Men”, by John Steinbeck, George, Lennie’s role model and only companion, shoots him because of his innocent mistakes. George finds out about Curley’s Wife’s death and finds Lennie at the edge of the Salina’s pool; he decides to “...[raise] the gun...close to the back of Lennie’s head…[and pull] the trigger”(Steinbeck 106). Although Lennie had killed a person, he had no malicious intentions. In the end, he was just a gentle-soul that was too naive for the world. George ended the life of an innocent man because of the mistakes he has made and needs to be held accountable for Lennie’s death. As a summary, those who hurt innocent people with the reason it being their mistakes must hold responsibility for the damage done.

A person will always be a fault if they have commited murder. In the short story written by Richard Connell, “The Most Dangerous Game”, Rainsford is forced into a hunting game by General Zaroff, having the role of the hunted. However, before the game starts, General Zaroff clearly promises that, “ ‘...[if you win] I’ll cheerfully acknowledge myself defeated if I do not find you by midnight of the third day. I will give you my word as a gentleman and a sportsman…’ “(Connell 6). Although the hunting game puts lives at risk, General Zaroff confirms with Rainsford that he will keep his word of letting him go. This is a clear, simple deal that both men can trust. In the same story. “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell, Rainsford unexpectedly survives the game and is let free by General Zaroff.  When General Zaroff prepares himself for bed after the disappointing game, he finds that a “, who had been hiding in the curtains of the bed was standing…[in his room]...’Rainsford..How in God’s name did you get in here?’...Rainsford did not smile. ‘I am still a beast at bay,’ he said…the general…[said] ‘One of us is to furnish a repast for the hounds. The other will sleep in this very excellent bed. On guard Rainsford…’ He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided”(Connell 9). Rainsford was the last person to sleep on General Zaroff’s bed, which means he has murdered him. There was no valid reason for Rainsford to kill General Zaroff as the general kept to his words and let Rainsford free. Moreover, when Rainsford murders Zaroff, he has broken the deal that the two men have agreed on, which makes the general’s death all his fault. As a summary, a person that kills someone’s life by choice in a life-or-death situation will always need to hold accountability simply due to the fact that they have committed murder. 

Some may believe that the instinct of fear can change people’s thoughts and actions in a risky situation, and therefore should not be at fault for any losses or harm done to others. In the text, “The Seventh Man” by Haruki Murakami, the 7th Man describes how his body reacted differently from what his mind was telling him as he realized the danger closing on him. The 7th Man heartbrokenly explains that “I told myself to run over to K., grab hold of him, and get out of there...I knew that the wave was coming…[but] I found myself running the other way...toward the dyke, alone...what made me do this…[was] fear, a fear…[that] set my legs to running on their own”(Murakami 138). The 7th Man knew what he could have done to save K, but his body acted otherwise because of his fear of dying due to the frightening wave.

Nonetheless, this does not change the fact that the 7th Man was K’s guardian and protector. In the same story, “The Seventh Man”. by Haruki Murakami, the 7th Man concisely describes his role in K’s life. In the beginning of the story, the 7th Man illustrates how K “...was a frail, skinny thing, with a pale complexion....and because he was so frail, I always played his protector…”(Murakami 134). Despite claiming he was K’s protector, he let K die in the vicious wave because he was too caught up worrying about his own safety. The 7th Man also failed his role as K.’s protector and did not stick true to his words. In the end, a guardian that does not use the chance to prevent the death of the one they are protecting will always need to be held accountable for the loss of their life.

As a conclusion, people need to be held responsible for any of their actions in a life-or-death situation because they have harmed innocent beings, committed murder, and let go of their role as one’s protector. From deciding to harm the innocent, kill someone, or even failing to fill the role of being one’s guardian, anybody that chooses these choices will have to take the blame of any consequences that are caused by their decision. It does not matter what risky or deadly situation one is stuck in; a person that can choose to prevent any harm or deaths around them but decides to not carry on that choice will always need to be held accountable for their acts and thoughts.



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