At the end of Of Mice and Men, did George have to kill Lennie?Lennie is a human, so he has right to live; however George kills him at the end of the novel. Is that right decision to be taken?...

At the end of Of Mice and Men, did George have to kill Lennie?

Lennie is a human, so he has right to live; however George kills him at the end of the novel. Is that right decision to be taken? Does George do the right thing by killing Lennie?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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This is a completely subjective question which requires a completely subjective answer.

At the end of Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men, George shoots Lennie. Lennie has accidentally murdered Curley's wife (the farm owner's son's wife). In retaliation, most of the farmhands decide to hunt Lennie down (he has fled to the banks of the Salinas River as he promised George to do if he got into any trouble). George, knowing where Lennie has gone, finds Lennie first and chooses to shoot him.

George makes this decision based upon a couple different thoughts. First, George knows that the men wil not make Lennie's death easy. Second, George has promised Aunt Clara to take care of Lennie. George knows that if Lennie is placed into a mental ward he will not be able to survive (based upon his mental retardation).

Therefore, one questioning George's killing of Lennie can go two different ways. First, he knew that by him killing Lennie that Lennie would not suffer (as he would at the hands of the ranchers or in a mental hospital). Second, George should have done everything to protect Lennie. The true answer to this question lies in one's personal idea about what was the best for Lennie.

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