In Of Mice and Men, what evidence can prove that George feels guilty for Lennie's death?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

George's actions after shooting Lennie reflect a sense of guilt.

George experiences a great deal of guilt after shooting Lennie. His actions show remorse for what he has done. When looking at the gun, George "threw it from him, back up on the bank, near the pile of old ashes." As he "shivered," George rids himself of the weapon, wanting to get rid of it and eliminate it from memory. He is not proud of what he has done, and his reaction towards the gun reflects the shame he feels about it.

When the other men approach George, he speaks and carries himself in a manner that reflects guilt. For example, when Carlson approaches George and asks him to describe what happened, George speaks "tiredly." This shows how guilt has caused emotional fatigue in George's heart. As Carlson continues to question him, George's voice "was almost a whisper." Later on in the exchange, Steinbeck writes that George "looked steadily at his right hand that had held his gun." Like Lady Macbeth, who wants to rid herself of that "spot," George stares at the hand that pulled the trigger, and feels regret about it. When Slim has to steady George at the end of the novella, it is only because his shakiness reflects guilt over what he did to his best friend.