Steinbeck's novella Of Mice and Men is written as a frame narrative; and, as such, the final scene takes the reader back to the opening scene in which George and Lennie arrive outside the town of Soledad, a name which means alone. While they make camp, Lennie asks George to recite the description of their American Dream of owning a place of their own after George has scolded him for his escapade in Weeds and for catching mice and killing them. Now, in Chapter 6, Lennie who has paralleled the act in Weeds, only with more devastating effects, knows he is in trouble and asks George to recite again their dream. His desire is for the litany about their future that comforts and consoles him for his present problems; in fact, it is almost like a prayer. George prays with him.
George, knowing that Lennie, like Candy's dog is in a hopeless situation, tells his friend to "look acrost the river, an' I'll tell you so you can almost see it." As he looks at Lennie's head and reaches for Carlson's Luger and recites their old litany, George's hand shakes; he drops his hand to the ground, but as the voices come closer, George knows that Lennie, like the old dog, is no longer useful and is one of life's losing victims. He listens again to the voices. As his hand shakes violently, George sets his face in the determination uttered by his "I gotta." Finally, he pulls the trigger; he shivers afterward and throws the gun from him as Lennie jars, then falls slowly forward to the sand.