Of Mice and Men debate Tomorrow i will have a debate in school on of Of Mice and Men. The debate will be based on whether George is justified in killing Lennie. I am for( George was justified in...

Of Mice and Men debate

Tomorrow i will have a debate in school on of Of Mice and Men. The debate will be based on whether George is justified in killing Lennie. I am for( George was justified in killing lennie) and need a few points that I can use for the debate.

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billdelaney's profile pic

William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

There is no doubt that Lennie is going to get killed. The lynch mob is closing in on him. He has no chance of getting away--and he is considered armed and dangerous because the pursuers all believe that he stole Carlson's pistol. They can not only kill him but claim self-defense. His murder of Curley's wife was accidental, but nobody was there to see what actually happened. George would understand what probably happened, but it would make no difference to Curley and the other men even if George could explain. George may be killing Lennie in order to save him from a more painful death at the hands of the lynch mob, but it seems more likely that his main thought is that he ought to execute his friend himself, just as Candy felt that he should have killed his old dog himself rather than letting a stranger do it. There is something noble, heroic, and compassionate about George's killing his old friend and companion. It reminds the reader that these bindle stiffs are not bums or trash but real human beings.

e-martin's profile pic

e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I would first look to the same points as have been made above as to what would have happened to Lennie if George did not kill him. Secondly I would ask what would happen if Lennie got away, was not captured, and landed in a new situation where he was loosed on the public again.

Lennie commits a serious crime (murder) and also shows on several occassions how little self-control he has when provoked. It also doesn't take violence to provoke him. He can be provoked merely by the idea that he won't get to tend rabbits on a hypothetical farm.

When George kills Lennie, he can be said to be protecting the populace from Lennie.

ask996's profile pic

ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

Rather than ask whether George was justified in killing Lenny, perhaps we should ask if he had a moral obligation to kill Lenny. In the eyes of the law, no George was not justified in killing Lenny. Lenny was no longer an immediate threat, and George could have find other solutions. Morally, however, as he knew what lay before Lenny would have no doubt been cruel and barbaric, he had an obligation as Lenny's protector to take the actions he did.

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

This debate is similar to ones that Dr. Kervokian became involved in.  His point, too, was that people were suffering and had no hope of anything but more suffering, so he assisted in their suicides.  Nevertheless, the law states that no one has the right to take a human life, and the doctor went to prison.

While our sympathies are certainly with George's action, the law probably will stand firm against him.  His defender would probably have to stress George's love for Lennie, his sense of responsibility for Lennie's care, and his motivation in shooting Lennie, and testimony from Slim, who claims George "hadda" shoot Lennie.  These points can help to mitigate George's guilt, perhaps, but the fact that he killed a man cannot be escaped.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I agree with you.  My best point is simply this: what would have happened to Lennie if George hadn't killed him?  Lennie wasn't going to get justice.  Curley was going to have Lennie essentially tortured.  Curley's dad was a big man in their area and the police wouldn't have done anything to stop Curley.  So I think it was right for George to kill Lennie because it was A) no less just and B) much more merciful than what would have happened if the "law" got Lennie.

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