How Does George Kill Lennie Unjust

1150 Words5 Pages
In what instances is murder acceptable? Though controversial and very case-specific, murder seems like it is decidedly unjustifiable. In nature, the word itself sounds very bitter, as the action is often driven from basic human emotion rather than morals that are taught and generally accepted. However, there are some cases where murder defies its dark and grim nature to become something potentially helpful for the safety of others, like when George killed Lennie at the end of Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. George and Lennie arrive at a ranch in Soledad, California as migrant workers in the 1920’s. George and Lennie have been friends since they were young, and George has travelled with Lennie from ranch to ranch, looking after him for a…show more content…
A primary claim on this side of the argument is that Lennie didn’t mean to do anything violent. More specifically, when Lennie hurt Curley’s hand in a fight he “ ‘didn’t wanta hurt him.’ ” (Steinbeck 64) However, another incident when Lennie hurt another person is when he killed Curley’s wife. In this scene, he “was angry with her. ‘Don’t you go yellin’,’ he said, and he shook her; and her body flopped like a fish. And she was still, for Lennie had broken her neck.” (Steinbeck 91) This incident resulted from his own anger and physical strength. It was no accident, because he was trying to get her to stop screaming by shaking her and covering her mouth. When he shook her, which he deliberately did by his own accord, it killed her. Thus, Lennie meant to do harm to Curley’s wife when he killed…show more content…
Lennie knew that his repetitive tendency to get in trouble took a toll on George, and Steinbeck does include details in the novel showing that Lennie was aware of George’s frustrations. For example, when Lennie runs away to hide in the forest right before the scene where George kills him, Lennie imagines a gigantic rabbit criticizing him, “ ‘Well he[George]’s sick of you,’ said the rabbit. ‘ He’s gonna beat the hell outta you an’ then go away an’ leave you.’...’the rabbit repeated softly over and over, ‘He gonna leave you...He gonna leave ya all alone.’ ”(Steinbeck 102) Since this rabbit is part of Lennie’s imagination, the rabbit represents his subconscious thought, showing that he had dwelled upon the idea of George leaving him quite a bit. He always said he could run away and not be a burden upon George, but since George only ever helped Lennie, Lennie struggled to grasp a reality of George not being at his side. Likewise, when George finds Lennie in the woods before he kills him, Lennie expects George to yell at him and be angry about him killing Curley’s wife, “Lennie looked eagerly at him. ‘Go on, George. Ain’t you gonna give me no more hell?’ ‘No,’ said George. ‘Well, I can go away,’ said Lennie. ‘I’ll go right off in the hills an’ find a cave if you don’ want me.’ “ (Steinbeck 104) Lennie can tell George is upset. Even though Lennie’s idea isn’t helping much, he sees it as the
Open Document