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"I am impelled, not to squeak like a grateful and frightened mouse, but to roar..." - John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men"
The title makes it no secret that this episode is based on John Steinbeck's classic book "Of Mice and Men." It tells the tragic story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers during the Great Depression. George Milton is an intelligent yet cynical man, and Lennie Small is a man of large stature and great strength but with mental disabilities. Lennie's love for soft things conspires against him, mostly because he doesn't know his own strength, and eventually becomes his undoing.
Though naming Natalie's boyfriend Lenny is a nod to the novel, it's actually Marty that has many similarities to Lennie from "Of Mice and Men." Both characters are seemingly meek and mild-mannered, but turn out to be capable of horrific violence.