Discuss the inherent goodness in George's actions.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The most basic read of the goodness in George's actions is the idea that he took care of Lennie.  Throughout the novella, George demonstrates himself as taking care of Lennie.  He makes good on the promise he gave to Aunt Clara and tends to Lennie.  In a time where so many abandon one another, George does not do this to Lennie and others note it. On more than one occasion, it becomes evident that George's willingness to stand by Lennie is different from the norm.  George provides for Lennie's general welfare and also tends to him in order to be happy.  Of course, the ending is where the most discussion about George's goodness towards Lennie will be evident.  In the act of shooting Lennie, George demonstrates goodness in a couple of ways.  The first would be in that George does not want the mob led by Curley and Carlson to have their way with Lennie.  George is convinced that they would do terrible things to him and in seeing this, George would be going back on his word to look out for Lennie.  In taking Lennie's life, George gets him to talk about their farm and their dreams.  This means that the last words on Lennie's lips are the vision of their happiness in a world that is not of this particular contingency.  Finally, there is a sadness or emptiness in George at the end.  He is not happy with what he has done, but as Slim says, he knows that he "had to do it."  It is here where George's goodness is on display for all to see.  He recognizes what he has to do, even though it comes at great loss to him.

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