English 2 P.5
23 October 2008
Dr. Jack Kevorkian prescribes euthanasia, a dignified, painless way of dying, to terminally ill patients. In Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, George faces the similar situation with Lennie, a large man with mental difficulties, while at a ranch near the Salinas River. Lennie, unaware of his own strength, kills Curley’s wife; this initiates a pursuit to kill Lennie. George finds Lennie and when the men are nearly there, George shoots Lennie in the head. George’s intentions justifies the merciful deed he commits.
George’s actions spare Lennie, the person George is responsible for, a more painful and violent death. Lennie’s death is inevitable; George does not want “to have no stranger shoot” (86) Lennie. In fact, George felt that Lennie should be killed by someone who loves and cares for him rather than a stranger. George wants Lennie to die while enjoying himself by retelling Lennie about their dream. In addition, George knows that “they’d lock [Lennie] up an’ strap him down and put him in a cage (97) if Lennie were put in prison. Lennie would not be able to survive under those conditions due to his child-like mind which could not understand what he did wrong. George prevents Lennie from suffering a torturous, painful experience.
Lennie’s death is an act of love that George bestows. Lennie trusts George to “ never raise his han’ to [him] with a stick” (102).
... George with Lennie. George is determined not to let this happen to him. George knows that Lennie will be killed by Curley and the other men ... end of the novel. When George kills Lennie, he also kills the friendship, which results in the death of the dream within him. ... Curley’s wife, Curley, Candy (after his Dog’s Death, Crooks and George (after Lennies Death) at one point they all make a ...
This trust forms from all the love and protection George gives to Lennie. If Curley gets his way with Lennie, George will fell as if he betrayed Lennie’s trust. As George attempts to shoot Lennie his “hand shook violently, but his face sets” (105) then he pulls the trigger. Though this is heart-wrenching thing for George to do, he realizes there is no other choice. George kills Lennie because he could not bare the thought of Lenny being murdered out of cruelty.
Some theorize that George could have ran away with Lennie, similar to the situation in Weed. George is able to hide Lennie and run away with him after the townsfolk become tired of searching for them. However, in this situation, Lennie actually kills Curley’s wife. Curley wants to “kill the big son-of-a-bitch [himself]” (96).
The chance of surviving slim due to the fact that Curley is still seeking revenge from Lennie. George and Lennie have been running before, but this chance was made almost impossible by the fact that dogs and a mob of angry men with guns were chasing them. Curley knew about George and Lennie’s relationship and wants George to “stick with [them] so [they] don’t think [he] had nuthin’ to do with [it]” (98).
The mob would believe that George had helped in killing Curley’s wife, making both of them wanted criminals. This makes it extremely hard to escape since a pair is easier to locate than one person. Escaping from the dogs and the men is near impossible.
George is left with no other choice but to take Lennie’s life; it is the only realistic outcome of the novel Of Mice and Men. The act George commits saves Lennie from agonizing pain; it is a final act of protection in which George gives to Lennie. George Milton had to find the courage to answer the most difficult question that many cannot even comprehend: How far would you go for a friend?