In this essay I am going to discuss the reasons why George kills Lennie at the end of John Steinbeck’s novel ‘Of Mice and Men’. I will consider the possibility that George kills Lennie to save him from a painful death. I will also think about the whether George kills him so he does not feel like Candy who felt very bad after letting a stranger kill his dog. I am also going to give a brief outline of the story.
George was a migrant worker who travelled from farm to farm for work. George cares for Lennie, who is his childhood friend. Lennie is mentally disabled. Both George and Lennie dream that they could get lots of money to enable them to own their own farm, so Lennie can tend rabbits. George is a really responsible person. Lennie is a totally different person, he can’t even make decisions for himself and he relies on George to do it for him. Lennie finds it really fun to touch soft things like rabbits and dogs. Therefore a farm would be a good thing for him. This had got him into trouble when he had been wrongly accused of rape when he had felt a woman’s dress. George had given Lennie instructions to go to a place near the river and wait for him if he got into trouble like that again.
The boss’s son accuses George of flirting with his wife, and ends up fighting with Lennie because he thinks he is laughing at him. Lenny relies on George to tell him to fight back and to stop fighting when he had hurt the man, who is called Curly.
Slim gives Lennie one of his dog’s new puppies, but accidentally Lennie kills the puppy by bouncing it hard. Curly’s wife finds him and when Lennie tries to feel her soft hair she screams because he is too rough. He struggles with her and snaps her neck.
When the body is found the men want to find Lennie. Curly wants to kill him. George steals one of the men’s guns and finds Lennie where they had agreed they would meet if he were in trouble. George shoots Lennie, and tells the others that Lennie had taken the gun and he had taken it off him and shot him.
George may have killed Lennie because he didn’t want to live with him any more as he became too much hassle and annoying. He didn’t like it that Lennie was always talking to him and wouldn’t ever stop talking; it got on his nerves when they were walking about. Another reason George kills Lennie is because Curley, Slim and Carlson are going to anyway. For example in the book he says, “I’m going to get him for my shot gun and ill kill the big son of a bitch myself. Ill shoot him in the guts.” George felt that if he didn’t dispose of Lennie someone else would assassinate him, using a more painful method. Also, George would not be there to protect him at all. George is so anxious to kill Lennie so Carlson doesn’t do it himself or anyone does it himself.
Lennie always got him into trouble and if George hadn’t killed him, the other people who knew him and were angry with him would have done it. Carlson wanted to shoot him in the guts, which would be really painful, but George wanted to shoot him in the head so he died quicker and kinder.
He wanted to kill him in a quick way by shooting him on the back of the neck so he wouldn’t feel it that much. He did not want Lennie to die in a slow painful death but he wanted to get over and done with in as quick as time as possible. He shot him with a luga gun on the back of the head. George killed Lennie because he loved him and he wanted him to go to a better place where the rules are whatever he wants and he doesn’t have to have George bossing him about all day and telling him what to do all the time. George told his aunt that he was going to look after Lennie and he definitely did. But he killed him because it was for the best.
George thought that Lennie would be much happier not being in the world and that he could live away from the fact that he killed Curley’s wife. George wanted a proper job and wanted to live on his own. He doesn’t want to feel like Candy when someone kills the dog when he should have done it himself. He killed him because maybe his aunt wanted to him to die. If he had his own job and Lennie was still alive, Lennie would annoy him all the time and he wouldn’t be able to do well in his job and get money. This would prevent him looking after himself and feeding himself and if he didn’t do that then he might not survive.
Lennie would not be given a fair trial and that is one reason George shoots him. For example, Curley says, “you go in Soledad an get a cop. get 141 wilts, he’s deputy sheriff”. This means that Lennie is guilty before anyone investigates. The police will not prosecute Curly and the men for taking law into there own hands.
George is also worried that if he does not kill Lennie they will lock him up. George says in the book, “spose they look him up an strip him down and put him in a cafï¿½”. This sentence demonstrates George cares for Lennie and he would rather have him shot then being locked up everyday. George felt if he were not able to do anything for Lennie, Lennie wouldn’t survive so he might as well be shot. By killing George himself, George is able to make sure it is done humanely. In the book it states “he looked at the back of Lennie’s head, at the place where the spine and skull were joined”. George is making sure that he kills Lennie properly and that he goes through hardly any pain and its done really quickly.
Perhaps one reason George kills Lennie himself is because Candy always regrets not killing his dog himself. In the book Candy shows how upset he is by saying “I ought to of shot that dog”. Candy thinks that he should of killed the dog and not some stranger and he has regretted it ever since and he got shot by the stranger.
We could also argue that another reason George kills Lennie is because he is frustrated with him. George says a lot of horrible things to Lennie saying on page 4,”Jesus Christ you’re a crazy bastard”. George is very impatient and shouts at Lennie all the time and cant wait until he shoots him and he has regretted it ever since he got shot by the stranger.
Another possible reason that George decided to kill Lennie is that he might want to live on his own. In the book it gives u clue from the sentence on page 11, which says “god almighty! If I was alone I could live so much easier. Basically he cant wait till he’s killed so he can get on with his own life without Lennie getting in his way and annoying him all the time so he wont have to put up with him for much longer.” With him living on his own he wouldn’t have to buy things for Lennie and could spend it all on him so he could live happily and wouldn’t have to pay for anything that Lennie might want, like the puppy for example.
George may of killed Lennie because their dreams were ruined and there was no point of Lennie being with him because it was just going to make things worse for everyone. In this phrase in the book from page 100 it shows you that George knows there dreams are ruined,” I think I knowed from the very first. I think I knowed that wed never do her.” If he doesn’t kill Lennie then someone else will.
He might well of killed Lennie because his aunty might of thought that was what was best for Lennie.in the book George says,” I knowed his aunt Clara she took him when he was a baby and raised him up. When his aunt Clara died, Lennie just came along with me out working and we then just got kind of used to each other.” Basically George thought that his aunt Clara would trust him and if he shot him she would of understood why he did it and that if he didn’t do it then he would just be in pain and would be beaten all the time and George wouldn’t be able to do anything about it he wanted Lennie to be happy, not in pain.
Lennie was a clear danger to himself and if he stayed alive and he was a bit weird. Talking to the dog saying “now maybe George aint gunna let me tend no rabbits, if he finds out you got killed”. Lennie is too much trouble for everyone.
Although Lennie was annoying, the reasoning for killing him shows you that George thought did the right thing to kill Lennie. It was best that he was shot because he would of gone through so much suffering. George couldn’t of let him suffer like that and he’d rather have Lennie die quickly then a slow and painful death. George did this because he loved Lennie. He didn’t hate him.