Identify what you would consider to be the most significant moments in this novella.

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

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I think that the most significant moment in Steinbeck's work would have to be when George kills Lennie.  This has to be considered the most significant moment for a couple of reasons.  The first would be that it marks the end of a friendship that has driven the novella.  Throughout the narrative, the reader has always seen George and Lennie together, representing an end that society at the time does not show in terms of people looking out for one another.  In the moment when George kills Lennie, one can see it as a repudiation of this idea or a further substantiation of it, in that George does not want the social order of the ranch to hurt Lennie.  He would rather do it himself with a sense of mercy and compassion, elements missing from the world seen in the novella.  Another reason why this moment is so significant is that it represents the death of dreams.  The shared dream that Lennie and George have is also killed at the moment that George kills Lennie.  This is reflective of the idea that the social order of the time is one in which the power to dream is something that is not encouraged or supported by the social order of the time.  In this, another key or significant notion is revealed in this critical moment.