How Does George Kill Lennie's Death

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Some readers might conclude that Lennie’s death was an act of murder or simply euthanasia. However, these arguments fail to recognize that George’s action was not only an act of mercy, but also an act of justice. His decision to kill Lennie is justified for two main reasons: it served as an act of justice and helped Lennie avoid a painful fate. When George killed Lennie, it was an act of civil justice for society. Early in the novel, Steinbeck makes it very clear that Lennie frequently got into trouble with both the law and society. One example of this was when Lennie supposedly “raped” a woman from Weed. In one scene, George tells Slim, “‘…he [Lennie] reaches out to feel this red dress an’ the girl lets out a squawk…all he can think to do …show more content…

There is no doubt that the men would have made Lennie suffer slowly as he died. Even before Lennie kills Curley’s wife, some of the men knew that he would be harmed in the future. After some time at the ranch, Lennie is savagely beaten by Curley. Even Crooks knows that the men will abuse Lennie, if he is defenseless. He tells Lennie that, if George does not come back, “They’ll take ya to the booby hatch. They’ll tie ya up with a collar, like a dog,” (72, 3). The “booby hatch” was slang for a mental asylum, where abuse was common. Soon after Lennie kills Curley’s wife, a lynch mob (similar to the one in Weed) assembles to chase and kill him. Curley wanted to “shoot ‘im in the guts” and he instructed the others to do so (96-97). Although the novel goes only this far in description, it is clear that Curley was going to do more to Lennie than shoot him. For George, who witnessed most of the events described, there were three options: let Lennie die a slow death, escape, or kill him quickly. At this point, escaping would not have been practical and letting someone die slowly would have been immoral. George decided to choose the morally straight path of killing Lennie, telling him about the bright future that will never come. George’s selfless, moral choice saved his friend from excessive

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