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Did Lennie kill the girl in Weed in Of Mice and Men?

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mcfox1948 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted May 3, 2013 at 5:51 PM via web

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Did Lennie kill the girl in Weed in Of Mice and Men?

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 3, 2013 at 6:01 PM (Answer #1)

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There is not enough evidence to conclude that Lennie killed the girl in Weed, but we do know that the incident frightened George.  He is aware of what Lennie is capable of, even if he has not witnessed it firsthand.

George does not say what Lennie did in Weed.  He simply says, “bad things like you done in Weed.”  We do know the incident was serious enough that they not only had to run, they were chased.

"Run us out, hell," said George disgustedly. "We run. They was lookin' for us, but they didn't catch us." (ch 1)

However, later on we are given more detail on exactly why they have to run.  Lennie wanted to feel her dress, and she thought he was grabbing for her.

She jerks back and you hold on like it was a mouse.  She yells and we got to hide in a irrigation ditch all day with guys lookin' for us, and we got to sneak out in the dark and get outa the country. (ch 1)

George would have reacted differently if Lennie had killed before.  He protected Lennie, but when Lennie killed Curley’s wife he acted.  He shot Lennie before he could hurt anyone else, and before Lennie could get caught.

It is true that the color red is symbolic.  However, in this case George feels guilty because he should have seen the signs.  He did not act when Lennie scared the girl.  He did not realize how dangerous Lennie was.  He blames himself.

Sources:

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William Delaney | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 4, 2014 at 8:07 PM (Answer #4)

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George tells Slim specifically that the girl in Weed was very much alive after the incident with Lennie. He says:

"Well, that girl rabbits in an' tells the law she been raped. The guys in Weed start a party out to lynch Lennie."

Weed was a very small town--and it still is. The girl must have gone to the sheriff's office on the main street to make her report. Naturally there would be a violent reaction to the news. But why should the girl tell the sheriff she had been raped? Did George get it right, or did she really only tell the sheriff that she had been the victim of an attempted rape? George was not present when Lennie approached the girl and took hold of her dress. He tells Slim:

"I was jus' a little bit off, and I heard all the yellin', so I comes running, an' by that time Lennie's so scared all he can think to do is jus' hold on."

George only knows what Lennie told him--and we have seen in the opening chapter that Lennie lies to George all the time. Furthermore, Lennie doesn't even understand his own feelings and motives.

George was not present when Lennie killed Curley's wife, either. There were no witnesses. George relied on his own eyes and his common sense. It looked as if Curley's wife had been accidentally killed during an attempted rape. This conclusion makes George recall the Weed incident and guess that it too might have started as an attempted rape and could have led either to an actual rape or an accidental murder. When he is looking at Curley's dead wife in the barn he says:

"I should of knew....I guess maybe way back in my head I did."

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scs55 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 21, 2013 at 5:18 AM (Answer #3)

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I would tend to agree with the first answer, (the one quoted by mcfox) that says Lennie merely grabbed onto the girl's dress, and in a panic, the girl struggled.  She then flailed back, and mistook Lennie's equally panicked death-grip on her clothes for an attempt to forcibly remove them.  Taking this as an attempt at sexual assault, she embellished it into a rape to get the 'justice' she felt she deserved.  

Had Lennie truly killed the girl, George would have acted differently.  He helped Lennie escape.  Had Lennie killed before, I doubt a man as smart as George, even one who felt a responsibilty for a simpleton like Lennie, would have continued on the road with him.  Had George known Lennie was capable of murder, he would have distanced himself; and if not that, acted as he did later and killed Lennie to stop him from committing further harm.  

George was a smart man, as referenced many times throughout the book.  He wouldn't have stayed with a known/wanted murderer, especially one so easily recognizable as the giant simpleton Lennie.  I think assuming Lennie killed before is just reading too far into it.  Iff Lennie had really killed the girl, why would George have stayed around long enough to beat him over the head with a fencepost to make him let go?  This would make him an accessory to the murder.  George was far too smart for that.  

Besides, when George and Lennie were alone at the beginning of the book, George would have made much sterner warnings had Lennie killed before.  He would have been more descriptive, telling Lennie the full truth of what happened.  He would have hammered into his head to stay away from all women, and to keep his hands to himself had he thought Lennie was capable of murder.  Also, this would completely change George's character into a knowing accomplice, a much darker shade than I believe the author intended.  

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mcfox1948 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted May 3, 2013 at 10:41 PM (Answer #2)

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There is not enough evidence to conclude that Lennie killed the girl in Weed, but we do know that the incident frightened George.  He is aware of what Lennie is capable of, even if he has not witnessed it firsthand.

George does not say what Lennie did in Weed.  He simply says, “bad things like you done in Weed.”  We do know the incident was serious enough that they not only had to run, they were chased.

"Run us out, hell," said George disgustedly. "We run. They was lookin' for us, but they didn't catch us." (ch 1)

However, later on we are given more detail on exactly why they have to run.  Lennie wanted to feel her dress, and she thought he was grabbing for her.

She jerks back and you hold on like it was a mouse.  She yells and we got to hide in a irrigation ditch all day with guys lookin' for us, and we got to sneak out in the dark and get outa the country. (ch 1)

George would have reacted differently if Lennie had killed before.  He protected Lennie, but when Lennie killed Curley’s wife he acted.  He shot Lennie before he could hurt anyone else, and before Lennie could get caught.

It is true that the color red is symbolic.  However, in this case George feels guilty because he should have seen the signs.  He did not act when Lennie scared the girl.  He did not realize how dangerous Lennie was.  He blames himself.

It does not make sense why the men would be forced to run away if the only thing Lennie was guilty of was grabbing the girl's dress hiding in an irrigation ditch and waiting until night. If all Lennie did was grab the dress, then why was their reaction so extreme? Further, this girl would probably not run and announce she had been raped; she would have hid the information due to her own shame.

George emphasizes Lennie's childish manner to Slim; why would he not stay and explain that's all that happened? It does not make sense if Lennie just grabbed her dress, why would she "squawk and squawk." If he had just grabbed the dress, why would George have to hit him over the head with a fence picket to force Lennie to let go? George didn't get there in time to save her.

Further, there is this from page 11, in chapter 1: "His voice took on the elaborate manner of little girls when they are mimicking each other. "Jus' wanted to feel the girl's dress--just wanted to pet it like it was a mouse--Well how the hell did she know you jus' wanted to feel her dress? She jerks back and you hold on like it was a mouse." The girl in Weed was truly a girl, otherwise why would he emphasize the manner of little girls; it wouldn't make any sense to Lennie, unless they had recently been exposed to one.

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