The central theme in Of Mice and Men is death. It lingers in the novel from the very beginning. Lennie, a narrator, is threatened with death after petting a woman’s dress. This drives him from town, and the story starts to revolve around the deaths of various people and animals.
The death of Lennie is the most tragic part of the book, since it is his first and most tragic death. The story focuses on the lives of four individuals: Curley, Lennie, and George. Ultimately, it shows the effects of human intolerance on one another.
Lennie accidentally kills Slim’s puppy, but he’s afraid that George will become angry. His wife, Candy, finds Lennie’s body in the barn and tries to talk about it. However, Lennie has other plans for his death. He tries to hide it from Candy, but her reaction is to alert George to the body. George knows that if he doesn’t catch Lennie, he will be in deep trouble.
Lennie’s unintentional death is also unintentional, as he’s strong and powerful. When he accidentally kills Curley’s wife, he accidentally breaks her neck. This is an extremely powerful gesture, since it validates Lennie’s ‘otherness’.