George Kills Lennie Essays

Long ago there was a movie whose setting was, like Mice and Men, the Great Depression.  The title of this movie was They Shoot Horses Don't They? and the plot centered around the desperate lives of people duringthe depression of the 1930s.  The central action of this film revolved around the marathon dances held at the time in which people could win money if they were the last couple standing.  Poor people endeavored, therefore, to dance for hours and hours in the hope of attaining money with which they could eat.  However, many of them collapsed and suffered greatly in their efforts.  Their pitiful actions and miserable lives were portrayed in detail; their situations were so painfully tragic that, finally, one dancer, weakened and sick from hours on her feet asked the man who held the money, "They shoot horses, don't they?"  But, people must bear their terrible misery.

Is he morally justified?  Would a man not shoot any other animal that suffers?  It is no coincidence that Steinbeck uses animal terms for Lennie, and that he precedes Lennie's death with the death of Candy's old dog.

George chose to keep Lennie from bearing a terrible misery.  Lennie, who has been described in animal terms, is shot as a horse is shot:  to put him out of his misery.

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George's Justice In Killing Lennie In Of Mice And Men--with A Free Essay Review

George had been taking care of Lennie for a long time, he understood that Lennie was just stupid and didn’t know what he was doing. When Lennie killed Curleys wife he had been stroking her hair and got tangled in it she started to scream and was afraid and that’s when he panicked and that made him grab her hair tighter. He killed her by accident but no one would understand that. So when Curley was going to go after him he would torture Lennie, kill him painfully or even lock him up. All of those things would make Lennie miserable. George had to kill him unexpectedly and calmly so Lennie wouldn’t feel anything.

If Curley would have got to Lennie first he would have probably shot him multiple times and not in places that would kill him right away. He would most likely have hurt him and make him feel miserable and helpless. He could as well have Lennie locked up and torture him daily until he would die. Curley would have wanted to get his revenge for Lennie breaking his hand, and there he had an opportunity.

Another reason for George to kill Lennie himself was that he knew how to soothe Lennie and make him happy, and that was talking about their dream place. He told Lennie about the rabbits and that he would tend them. That made Lennie happy and peaceful. It meant all to George that Lennie would not have a horrible death, so he shot Lennie at a time that he was happy and was not expecting death at all.

George also knew Lennie very well. They had been friends for a long time and they cared about each other and looked after one another. Even though George was mostly looking after Lennie than the other way around. It would have been wrong for Lennie to spend his last minutes scared and being threatened by some stranger or even Curly, someone that Lennie did not like.

So it would seem that George was right to kill Lennie. He could have faced a horrifying death or torture if someone else would have killed him. George will of course always have to live with the fact that he killed his friend but he can be comforted by the thought that he was saving him.


I think there are a few issue you could address in your revision of this essay.

1. Try writing an introduction. It should include the name of the novella, the name of the author, a little bit of general information about the novella, or about something related to the aspect of the work that you are interested in (such as Steinbeck’s cheerful disposition--just kidding) and, then, crucially, a thesis. A thesis is a statement of what you intend to argue in your essay. Sometimes theses begin like this “In this essay, I argue that Of Mice and Men is [insert something interesting and arguable about the novella here].” You can use that template or instead approach the problem of writing a thesis more obliquely. But write a thesis. That will help you realise what you arguing in your essay. Realising what you are arguing will help you focus on that argument.

2. In your essay, you don’t consistently focus on your argument. Perhaps everything you say could be used to support your argument, but you don’t actually use everything you say to support your argument. This is the second thing you should change in your essay. Your reader will not be reading your essay to find out what happens in Of Mice and Men. If your reader wants to find out what happens, she or he will probably read the story. Your reader is reading your essay to find out what your argument about that story is. So you need to focus on articulating the argument. That does not mean should avoid summary altogether. It does mean that you should refer primarily to those parts of the story that you intend to analyse with a view to making and supporting your argument. So refer to some part of the story, quote some part of the story, and then ask yourself, What can I say about this that will help me make my argument compelling?

3. Your basic argument is that George was right to kill Lennie because he wanted in doing so to save Lennie from a worse fate than the relatively painless unexpected death George could give him. That’s not a completely crazy argument (and it’s also Slim’s argument), even if it’s a little superficial, and probably wouldn’t get very far in a court of law. I think the problem you have here is that the question is not really a very interesting question, by which I mean it’s not a question that is seriously raised and thought about it in the novella itself. Steinbeck seems to be interested in death, but not that interested in the ethics of euthanasia. The fact that George does this, kills Lennie, for Lennie is perhaps interesting, though, as a weird consummation of the relationship between George and Lennie, and as an oblique comment on the depressing character of the world inhabited by these characters, a world in which murder can be an act of kindness. I’m not sure there are many options for development here for you if you are committed to sticking with the question of whether the killing is justified, though I think you could do a better job of contextualizing the murder (would you call it that?) by explaining how it can be such a consummation of George’s friendship for Lennie. Of course that would require that you refer to more than the last few pages of the work.

4. Finally, on to easier matters: You’ve got a comma splice in the first sentence; you’re missing the apostrophe to indicate the possessive in the second sentence; you’re also missing the comma to separate subordinate and independent clauses in the second sentence; and you’ve also got a run-on sentence appended to your second sentence. I won’t go on, but obviously you have some difficulty with standard orthography, so I would encourage you to undertake a systematic review of the rules governing punctuation (in any grammar book, or at Purdue’s Online Writing Lab).

Best, EJ.

Submitted by: katlaboghildur

Tagged...Of mice and men essay, why does George kill lennie, writing help

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