I need help writing a letter of advice to George as to what to do about Lennie in Of Mice and Men.

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

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If I were to write a letter to George about what to do with Lennie, it would be under the presumption that the ending has not happened yet.  I would stress to George that the initial fears that both Lennie and George share about working on the ranch are to be understood and upon which action needs to be based.  Both characters express how there are some bad elements on the ranch.  George and Lennie both recognize this in Curley and Curley's wife.  I would write to him that being able to act in a manner of what should be, as opposed to what is has to be embraced.  I think that George sees what is as the only potential course of action.  The life that both characters live in terms of being migrant workers makes options limited.  Yet, I think that they could find a different farm upon which to work.  They might have to face different demons in their quest, but at least they would not be the specific ones such as Curley's wife or Curley himself.  I would advise George that the need to leave immediately is something to be respected and followed.  If the letter was timed at the point when the mob is out to get Lennie, I would probably advise George to recall the time when both characters hid out in the ditch outside of Weed.  They have been there before, why not hide again?  The accusation of rape and the murder are similar in that both characters need to hide from the social orders that are pursuing them.  I would stress to George that taking a life has profound consequences and if he can pursue an avenue where this can be avoided, his own moral compass might benefit greatly from it.

molsondude's profile pic

molsondude | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

continued from my previous letter!! edit!!

 

 

One can only assume with reason that they would have killed Lenny ruthlessly without a second thought. To me it was far better for Lenny to die in peace then by the torture and inhumane means that were sure to come. But then again that is for you yourself to decide.

molsondude's profile pic

molsondude | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

Dear George,

 

An ambiguous question arises on whether you did the right thing by killing Lenny at the end of the story. Some people believe that you did it out of friendship, while at the same time others believe that you did it for his own personal needs. In my personal opinion, I would have to say that you killed Lenny simply out of love for his simple-minded friend. In support of my opinion, I have found many concrete facts throughout the novel that prove it is a legitimate theory. In the following paragraph I further describe my reasoning in depth.

 

The first reason that I believe you did the right thing was due to the circumstances that arose before Lenny’s death. At that time in the novel Lenny had just killed Curely’s wife accidentally because she had nice soft hair. When everyone found out, they immediately knew that Lenny had done it. So together, with the exception of you who left moments before, they set out in search of “their killer”. There is no question that their only motive was to kill him without a trial. My reason for this came right out of Candy’s conversation with you at the first murder scene. He said that “Curley gon’ta wanta get ‘im lynched. Curley’ll get ‘im killed.” Then George replied that Curley’s statement was right and that the other guys would go along with it.

The second reason for my option is based on the actual sequence of events that occurred at the Salinas Riverbank. When you got there, Lenny was frantically yelling. For he believed that you was “gonna give ‘im hell”. Lenny kept on using the same phrase that he “should go off and live in a cave somewhere”. This is evidently not logical because you knew that Lenny could not have survived on his own, especially when an angry mob was chasing after him. Therefore, instead of yelling at him you actually did the opposite. Even though you tried to make Lenny happy in his last moments of life. You told him to look across the Salinas River and imagine what he was saying. You then started once again to tell the story of there shared dream. The dream of "liv’in of the fata of the land". As you did this you then brought up the gun and shot Lenny in the back of the head.

This sounds cruel, but in reality George had an extremely hard time before and after this principal event. Steinbeck wrote that your hand "shook violently as [you] pulled the trigger". It only makes sense to me that if you really wanted to kill Lenny for his own needs it would not have been so hard for him to do so. In addition, you would not have given it a second thought, but he did. For right after it happened “[you] shivered and looked at the gun, and then through it away from him”. Meaning that you wanted nothing with the gun, and that you could not bear to keep it in his possession any longer. Then, even moments later when the mob arrived you were still shaking and looking at that same hand. In my option this only could mean that you were still shell shocked for what you had just done.

 

 

Therefore, in conclusion I one again state that you did the right thing by killing Lenny. I hope that I made it clear that your act was the only humane thing to do, given the situation. Yes, it would have been nice if he could have hidden Lenny and possibly sent him on his way. As we all now, there was absolute no time for that. For just as you finished his act, the first signs of the angry mob arose.

 

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