How can we justify what George did to Lennie at the end of the book Of Mice and Men? How can we condemn it?I would appreciate it if you can give me a paragraph on each question. If not, be...

How can we justify what George did to Lennie at the end of the book Of Mice and Men? How can we condemn it?

I would appreciate it if you can give me a paragraph on each question. If not, be thorough. Thanks.

Asked on by nerdalec24

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In the last moments from Of Mice and Men, we can justify what George did because if he didn't kill Lennie, Curley would have. At best, Lennie would be sent to prison which, for Lennie, would be a fate worse than death. If Curley had gotten to Lennie first, his death would have been cold and violent. Realizing this, George knew that he would give Lennie a more peaceful death. This is why he tells Lennie about their future (the farm, the rabbits, etc.) one last time, so Lennie has a heartwarming peaceful image before he dies. 

Lennie is innocent enough but he has such potential for destruction. Note that they end up at the pool by the river which is where they began. The implication is that the cycle repeats. They will find new jobs, Lennie will be pressured into some predicament, someone might get hurt, and Lennie and George will once again retreat and regroup. This is another reason we can justify what George does. The cycle doesn't seem to break. Even under George's supervision, Lennie gets into some trouble and hurts someone.  

It is difficult to condemn what George does because of the reasons stated. However, one criticism might be that George, although doing what he thought was a humane thing, was feeling frustration. Part of George's motivation could be selfishness. Had he not been saddled with Lennie, he may have had that farm by now. 

But, the argument justifying what George did is stronger than an argument condemning him. Just before he shoots Lennie, George says, "No, Lennie. I ain't mad. I never been mad, an' I ain't now. That's a thing I want ya to know." George realizes that Lennie will face a worse fate with Curley and he realizes that even if they escaped again, it is likely that (despite his innocence) Lennie would unintentionally do something destructive again. 

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