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'Of Mice and Men' - Why did George shoot Lennie?

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'Of Mice and Men' - Why did George shoot Lennie? In the novel of 'Of Mice and Men' George and Lennie are best friends, however at the end of the story George shoots Lennie in the back of the head. In this essay I will be discussing George's motivations for this action. There are two acts of euthanasia in the story, the killing of Candy's old dog and shooting Lennie. George only takes part in the second. Lennie's death is parallel to the shooting of Candy's dog. Both Lennie and candy's dog are killed because they would suffer and can not look after themselves. When Candy's dog is killed by Carlson, Carlson says to Candy 'you aint being kind to him ... the way I'd shoot him, he wouldn't feel nothing', by doing this he is putting him out of his misery, saving him from a worse fate. Candy says 'I ought to have shot that dog myself... I shouldn't have let a stranger shoot my dog'. This sticks in George's mind. As George and Lennie are best friends George feels he owes Lennie that; he doesn't want a stranger to shoot him he wants Lennie to die happy and not scared. ...read more.


George is sticking up for Lennie when is say's 'Lennie was just scared' even though he knows he has done something wrong, he is acting like a parent. George looks after Lennie like a parent, watching everything he does and making sure he is ok. Just like a parent would do, teaching them the difference between right and wrong and pointing them in the right direction. Lennie is just like a child in a mans body. Curly's wife even notices it saying 'you're a kind of nice fella. Jus' like a big baby'. Even someone who doesn't know him very well is realising what he is really like. When George takes the mouse away from Lennie, he gets upset and George says, 'blubberin' like a baby.... A big guy like you'. Lennie isn't just crying he is hysterical. He's like a baby who can't control their feelings or their actions, babies run on instinct and so does Lennie. Lennie can not make moral decisions and has to be told what to do and how to do it; he only ever knows he has done something wrong when George tells him. ...read more.


All George has ever done is protect Lennie from the things he could not handle and he is still protecting him now by killing him. He could be brought to trial and suffer punishment but has chosen to sacrifice himself to protect Lennie. George realises he will be left by himself if he kills Lennie, they could run away and still be together but he knows that would never work and makes what he thinks is the right the decision. The words of John Steinbeck in the last section describe how George feels towards Lennie, he says talking about George, "he fell silent again". This gives the impression George is sad and alone. George's voice was almost a whisper he found it hard to speak. After George killed Lennie John Steinbeck says "George let himself be helped to his feet" he was drained of all emotions, weak, confused and a little afraid. I think shooting Lennie was a very hard thing for him to do because Lennie was his best friend. If George hadn't shot him Lennie would have been beaten and then killed by the lynch mob. George shot Lennie because he couldn't handle him anymore and he figured that even if he didn't, someone else would have. ...read more.

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